The Senate, by a wide margin of 78-22, passed a strong inclusive Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act today. All 55 Democratic Senators and 23 Republican Senators voted to pass a bill that will strengthen protections for students, immigrants, Native American women, the LGBT community, and also aid victims of sex trafficking.
Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, remarked, "Although the Tea Party, Heritage Action, and FreedomWorks tried to politicize VAWA, the Senate led the way for common sense to prevail. VAWA works. Its prevention provisions work to reduce incidents of domestic violence, date violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes and its protective provisions help the victims of these crimes. Now the House must act immediately and pass the inclusive Senate reauthorization with a bipartisan vote. It currently has 194 cosponsors in the House. The political games that have caused well over a year's delay in passing this VAWA Reauthorization must stop. VAWA has been and must remain a bipartisan effort. Violence against women cannot, must not be politicized, trivialized, or tolerated."
Although Heritage Action, the 501(c)(4) affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, and Freedom Works announced they were scoring the VAWA vote, giving any Senator who voted for VAWA negative marks, three-fourths of the Senate defied the threat and voted yes. Though some opponents argue VAWA is vague, the act is very specific. VAWA deals with felony and misdemeanor crimes of violence including domestic violence, sexual assault, date violence, stalking, and sex trafficking. It even has clauses to protect against family violence such as child and elder abuse.
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. . . .