The House of Representatives let the Senate-approved bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expire at the end of the 112th congressional session without ever seeing a vote. This is the first time VAWA has not been reauthorized since it was first passed in 1994.
The Senate approved the reauthorization of VAWA in April 2012 and included new provisions that would extend access to law enforcement and services for Native American women, better access for immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better access for LGBT victims. The House drafted a second version of VAWA that excluded these new protections, the Cantor/Adams VAWA. The House passed the Cantor/Adams version of the bill, which was the first time a draft of VAWA had been approved by either chamber that narrowed or restricted protections.
Without approval by both the Senate and the House, the process of reauthorizing VAWA must start over with the new congressional session.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) was one of the key sponsors of the bill in the Senate, and plans to reintroduce the bill in 2013. She issued the following statement regarding the failure of the House to reauthorize the bill, "The House Republican leadership's failure to take up and pass the Senate's bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. ...No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first."
"I think they are still so kowtowing to the extreme on the right that they're not even listening to the moderates, and particularly the women, in their caucus who are saying they support this," Senator Murray told the Huffington Post.
In the almost 18 years since VAWA was initially passed, millions have benefited from its provisions. Between 1993 and 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence declined by 67%. VAWA established the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which receives over 22,000 calls each month and VAWA funds train over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other personnel each year.
Media Resources: Guardian 1/2/2013; Huffington Post 1/2/2013; MSNBC 1/2/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/17/2012, 4/26/12
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .