Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has introduced the Violence Against Women Health Initiative Act as part of her effort to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which she co-authored in 1994. The bill is designed to strengthen the ability of health care providers to recognize victims of domestic violence and prevent them from being victimized in the future.
"Domestic and sexual violence is all too common in the United States. Nearly one in four women report experiencing violence in their life which is a tragedy," said Slaughter, "The health care system is uniquely positioned to take a leading role in fighting and responding to intimate partner violence."
The bill would focus on training doctors and nurses in spotting signs of domestic violence and in providing counsel to victims in an effort to prevent future assaults. Slaughter's office estimates that measures to prevent situations of domestic violence by intervening earlier would save the health care system upwards of $8.3 billion per year.
It is estimated that every nine seconds, a woman is abused in the United States and nearly one-third of women in the United States report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend some time in their lives.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is due to expire at the end of this year. Since its passage, the rate of intimate partner violence had dropped by 53 percent. The Republican proposal for the fiscal year 2011 would dramatically cut funding to VAWA by an estimated $170 million.
Media Resources: Victoria Dillon Press Release 4/21/11; Niagara Gazette 4/21/11; Feminist News 2/14/11
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .