Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Accuses GOP of 'Making Sure That We Would Redefine Rape'

By Matt Cover | May 1, 2012 | 7:49pm EDT

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, accused Republicans on  Tuesday of "making sure that we would redefine rape."

“I think the agenda of the Republican Party and of Mitt Romney has clearly been--and can be interpreted as--an attack on the issues that matter to women,” Wasserman-Schultz said during a conference call.

“From the very beginning of this Congress,” she said, “the first priorities in the first bills the Republicans introduced repealing the Affordable Care Act which would dramatically impact women in a negative way [by] making sure that insurance companies could drop us or deny us coverage for preexisting conditions, making sure that we could once again be charged more simply because of our gender for insurance coverage, making sure that we would redefine rape as only being forcible rape--that was H.R. 3.”

Wasserman-Schultz was referring to the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which sought to make the ban on federal funding of abortions permanent, removing the need to pass the Hyde Amendment every year.

The bill was co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.) and 16 Democrats voted with Republicans in support of the measure, which passed by a 251-175 vote last May.

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The original version of the bill contained an exemption for abortions in the case of “forcible rape” and incest. At the time, liberals seized on the term “forcible,” and claimed it would redefine rape under federal law. They argued the wording excluded non-consensual sex when not accompanied by violence, for example drug-induced rape.

However, the bill did not change the criminal definition of rape under federal law or any other law whatsoever. Further, while the bill passed the House it never progressed through the Senate.

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