"The bill sponsor Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) faced serious backlash after he tried to narrow the definition rape to “forcible rape.” By narrowing the rape and incest exception in the Hyde Amendment, Smith sought to prevent the following situations from consideration: Women who say no but do not physically fight off the perpetrator, women who are drugged or verbally threatened and raped, and minors impregnated by adults. "
"It speaks to a distinction between rape where there must be some element of force in order to rise to the standard, and rape where there is not," said Steph Sterling, director of government relations for the National Women's Law Center. "The concern here is that it takes us back to a time where just saying no was not enough."
"The Hyde Amendment has been renewed every year since it was introduced in 1976, but calls to make it permanent became more urgent last year after the passage of the health-care overhaul, which some critics think has expanded the use of federal money for abortions.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act was intended, in part, to remedy that, but abortion-rights groups say it goes much further and cite the "forcible rape" inclusion as one egregious example. Although the bill's backers say it is not meant to change a widely held definition of rape, critics say the new wording could leave it open to interpretation by the courts or others.
In a sign of the potential confusion that could arise, one senior GOP aide said the wording was meant to prevent coverage for minors who engage in consensual sex that results in pregnancy. In some states, consensual sex involving minors is considered statutory rape."