In the slosh of post-State of the Union commentary, the Repugs talked a lot about the need for “limited government.” Paul Ryan, the Eddie Munster-ish Wisconsin dude who gave the initial Obama rebuttal was all about how government has to scale back and cut back and generally just stay the hell out of everybody’s business (free enterprise cures everything, dontcha know). Somehow he invoked Lincoln as an arbiter of limited government (at about 9:04 of his speech), thus revealing himself as a graduate of the Michele Bachmann School of Historical Nonfacts. Wasn’t that whole Civil War thing fought about the question of federal authority? Lincoln’s government wasn’t so much limited as it was marching all the hell over the south proclaiming its power–abolishing slavery was sort of incidental.
Ryan’s talk looked a bit like a Midwestern infomercial, right down to the I-practiced-them-in-the-mirror head nods and sympathetic smiles, and his doublespeak should be something we’re used to by now, but this drumbeat of “limited government” has gotten so loud that when it stops, the silence is deafening.
And the silence about limited government deafens me most when Congress starts talking about abortion. When it comes to abortion, conservatives from both parties think the government should be making decisions on the uterine level.
The latest effort to unlimit government comes in a new bill introduced by Chris Smith of NJ, which would rewrite the laws about government funding (including tax benefits, such as a Health Savings Account) being used for abortions. Currently, federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest, or where the life of the pregnant woman may be endangered.
The new law under discussion–which has the full support of the orange crocodile himself, John Boehner–restricts funding in all cases, except those of “forcible rape” (Sect 309.1).
Okay, so maybe it’s just my English Professor hackles being raised here, but isn’t rape by definition “forced?”
Not according to the wisdom of Boehner, Smith & Co. Statuatory rape isn’t “forced,” date rape isn’t “forced,” rape in instances where women were drugged or drunk isn’t “forced,” rape in instances where a woman isn’t mentally competent isn’t “forced.” And abortion for pregnancy that results from incest is only covered by federal funding if the pregnant body in question is under 18. Over 18? Apparently that’s not “forced.”
Would anyone like to guess who will be most profoundly hurt should this bill become law? Yeah, that’s right. Any woman (or girl) who doesn’t have private health insurance. Gosh, that would seem to suggest mostly poor people. Isn’t that astonishing? The teary-eyed congressman with the small penis giant gavel favors a law that will further screw poor women who have already been screwed against their will.
So let me conclude today’s lesson in how to speak conservative:
“Limited government” means unchecked regulation of Big Business and lots of regulation of small uteruses (uterii?); “forcible rape” implies that there is something called “unforced rape.”
Here’s the thing, Mr. Boehner. All rape is forced and my uterus is my own, thanks very much. Keep your gavel out of it.