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Language in abortion bill that redefined rape to be changed

A bill that would ban taxpayer funding to clinics that perform abortions — and caused significant controversy over the definition of rape — has been changed by the bill’s author, Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. The bill is sponsored by Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack and John Kline, as well as DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, among many others. The bill sought to provide exception for incest and “forcible rape,” which opponents said would not cover statutory rape or instances where force could not be proven.

“The word forcible will be replaced with the original language from the Hyde Amendment,” Smith spokesman Jeff Sagnip told Politico.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, had criticized the bill last week.

“Heartlessly, the Smith bill would even prevent many rape survivors from getting the care they need,” she said in a statement. “If this bill passes, only rape survivors who become pregnant through ‘forcible rape’ will be allowed federal financing of abortion. This means women who are drugged, unconscious, coerced — or whatever else state lawmakers decide does not constitute ‘forcible rape’ — could be excluded from the abortion coverage they need.”

Bachmann has been particularly vocal in support of the bill — if not the bill’s controversial language.

“Not only would defunding Planned Parenthood and affiliated federal grants to abortion facilities at the federal, state and local levels save us $630 million in taxpayer dollars, but its [sic] simply the moral thing to do,” she said early last week, citing efforts by the GOP to pass abortion restrictions.

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