The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) could be brought up in the House of Representatives as early as next week.
According to news reports, House Republican leadership are poised to bring VAWA to the floor for discussion. As of now it is unclear if they will bring the inclusive version passed by the Senate last week to the floor or if they will propose their own version of the bill. S. 47, passed by the Senate on a vote of 78 to 22, includes provisions expanding protections for LGBTQ individuals, Native American women, students, and immigrant women. Last year, the House refused to vote on the Senate version of VAWA and proposed the "Cantor/Adams" VAWA that did not included the expanded protections. Since neither bill was approved by both chambers of Congress, VAWA was not reauthorized in 2012, the first time the bill failed to be reauthorized since it was passed in 1994.
It is imperative that the House approves the inclusive Senate bill so that all victims of violence are protected. Various organizations have called on constituents to reach out to Representatives who have not signed on to the Senate version. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women issued a call to action on Thursday, saying "We must remind [the House leadership] that S. 47 has victim-centered support in the House from both parties and will pass if it comes to the House floor for a vote. Any effort to weaken or delay VAWA does not reflect the will of our country, of our Congress or the desperate need of victims in our homes and communities all across the nation. Survivors of violence cannot wait any longer!"
UPDATE: House leadership announces alternative to Senate bill.
Media Resources: NTFESDV Alert 2/21/2013; Roll Call 2/21/2013; Feminist Newswire 2/12/2013, 1/3/2013, 5/17/2012
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. . . .