A message from Feminist Majority:
We are determined to defeat the outrageous and dangerous GOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, which rolls back protections for victims of violence, and passed the House last week on a nearly straight party line vote of 222-205. Only six Democrats voted yes for the GOP bill, but 23 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it. The bill now goes to a House/Senate Conference Committee along with the real VAWA passed by the Senate. We must keep the pressure up to make sure that the dangerous provisions in the House bill do not prevail and that the expanded protections under the Senate version are included in the final law.
For the first time in history, the House GOP passed a VAWA reauthorization that rolls back rather than expands protections for victims of domestic and workplace violence. The House VAWA reveals the depth of the GOP war on women's rights. The House GOP buckled under the pressure of the, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, the Eagle Forum, SaVE and other right wing groups and passed a badly flawed VAWA that some 200 law enforcement agencies as well as more than 300 women's rights, human rights, civil rights, religious organizations and victim advocacy groups vigorously opposed.
Republicans made some last minute changes to try and make their bill palatable. But even with the changes, the House GOP version of VAWA is a dangerous bill. Thanks to the action of thousands of Feminist Majority supporters as well as thousands of other activists, the Republican leadership, feeling the pressure, took out of the bill the heinous provision that immigration officials had to notify the abuser of the victim's complaint. However, the House GOP VAWA still rolls back current protections for immigrant women who are suffering from domestic abuse and workplace violence.
The House GOP version does not extend protections to Native American women when they are abused by non-native spouses on tribal lands. It does not give Native American authorities the power to prosecute these non-Native abusers. More than 50 percent of Native women have non-Native spouses.
Critically needed protections for LGBT victims that were included in the real VAWA passed by the Senate were also left out of the House GOP VAWA. The House GOP VAWA simply does not recognize that violence is violence and all victims deserve protection.
The narrow margin in the passage of the House bill when coupled with the two-thirds margin in the Senate reveals that the work of the massive coalition for the real VAWA has had an impact. The coalition is redoubling its efforts to ensure that we do not go backwards and a real VAWA reauthorization is enacted.
Thank you for your support - together we are making a difference for women.