In light of the “legitimate rape” fiasco caused by Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin, Democrats are seeking to tar Republican congressional candidates who supported the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill in 2011 because an original version of the legislation used the phrase “forcible rape” before it was removed.
But these Democrats are downplaying the fact that the final version of the bill voted on by the House of Representatives didn’t include that phrase and 16 Democrats ended up voting for the legislation.
The original version of the bill prevented taxpayer funding for abortion, with several exceptions including victims of “forcible rape.” Opponents expressed fear that the phrasing could mean abortions wouldn’t be financed for women who are victims of statutory rape or situations like rape from drugs.
At least five vulnerable Democrats running in tight re-election contests, along with 235 Republicans, voted for the bill after the phrase “forcible rape” was taken out.
Those candidates included Illinois Rep. Jerry Costello, Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz, Utah Rep. Jim Matheson, North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre and West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall.
Yet, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is reviving the issue in response to the firestorm created by Akin, who has nearly been pushed out of the Missouri U.S. Senate race because of his comments about rape and pregnancy.
It’s part of the plan to paint Republicans as having an “anti-women agenda,” as Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz claimed in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee told The Daily Caller on Tuesday that, “House Republicans wrote a bill that would redefine rape and limit health care access for women.”
“This is only the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on women by House Republicans and voters will hold them accountable for it,” said committee spokesman Jesse Ferguson.
In a press release blasted out on Monday, the DCCC took aim at Wisconsin Republican Rep. Sean Duffy for his support of the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill.
“What’s so appalling about Congressman Akin’s efforts to redefine rape is that he’s far from alone – in fact, Congressman Duffy and the Tea Party Congress pushed to redefine rape and limit victims’ access to health care,” Ferguson said.
And the liberal advocacy blog Think Progress attempted to tar Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate, this week because he was a co-sponsor of the bill. The blog posted a story titled, “How Todd Akin And Paul Ryan Partnered To Redefine Rape.”