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Planned Parenthood Strongly Opposes House Version of Violence Against Women Act
Legislation Would Dangerously Limit Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
In advance of debate in the House of Representatives over the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) later this week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced it strongly opposes the current House version of the bill and urges passage of the Senate version of the legislation instead. The Senate version of VAWA has already received bipartisan support.
“There are few pieces of legislation that have delivered as greatly on their promise as the Violence Against Women Act,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “However, instead of seeking to expand protections, this new House bill puts victims of domestic violence in greater danger and excludes vulnerable populations from critical protections.”
As the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate, providing care to nearly three million people annually, Planned Parenthood health centers witness firsthand the reality of intimate partner violence and coercion related to reproductive health.
Of utmost concern is the proposal to eliminate a confidentiality requirement in current law that protects the identity of immigrant women who file domestic violence complaints against a spouse who is a citizen or legal resident and allows the women to apply for individual legal status.
“As we’ve seen all too clearly over the past 18 months, women still face gender discrimination in this country,” said Richards. “This House bill does not advance protections against discrimination, but would further stigmatize particular populations. Planned Parenthood firmly stands against this bill and urges the House to pass the bipartisan Senate reauthorization instead.”
Since VAWA’s passage in the mid-1990s, incidences of domestic violence are down by more than 50 percent according to the U.S. Department of Justice.