The Meaning of “No”

by Emma Claire Goodman

Apparently I was unaware that there is a difference between rape, and “forcible” rape. I apologize for my ignorance – how was I to know that the word “no” isn’t an onomatopoeia?

Thank you ever so much, Chris Smith, for informing me! Golly gee, how silly I feel now that I stand corrected that women should not be eligible for federal assistance for abortion in rape cases unless she’s bruised or has had a bone broken! 

Oh, and I am just blushing that before I was of the opinion that being drugged and taken advantage of in a weakened state counted!


An anti-choice bill, proposed by Republican Chris Smith and supported by 173 members of the House, includes a provision that could redefine rape and possibly undo decades of hard work in the name of Women’s Rights.

For years, there have been exceptions for abortions that are eligible for federal funding, in case of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” would further narrow assistance, limiting it to only cases of something called “forcible” rape.

Again, I totally didn’t know there was a difference.

 As asserted by The New York Times, the bill would restrict federal assistance from “cases of…statutory or coerced rape.”

 Chris Smith wants to even further limit a law that gives women a choice. He is deliberately ignoring that many cases of statutory rape are non-forcible and/or do not result in outward signs of battery. He wants to restrict the right to say no.

If you believe in any semblance of justice for victims of sexual assault, if you believe that a woman should have a choice, if you believe that rape should be defined with a lack of consent, if you do not want to begin a spiral into a society that vaguely resembles that of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I implore you to sign the petition at MoveOn.Org to put a stop to this potentially dangerous bill.

Image: Washington MonthlyImage of Reps. Chris Smith and John Boehner discussing their abortion bill via AP

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.