“Any additional delay of its passage is deeply out of touch with the needs of women across the country.” – Cecile Richards
WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood Federation of America released the following statement applauding today’s Senate passage of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and urging the House of Representatives to follow suit. Once a law that enjoyed strong bipartisan support, Congress failed to renew it last year.
“We applaud the Senate for taking action to pass a long overdue reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and urge the House of Representatives to follow suit,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “There are few pieces of legislation that have delivered as greatly on their promise as the Violence Against Women Act. Any additional delay of its passage is deeply out of touch with the needs of women across the country.
“We must end violence against all women and do everything we can to be sure that women are safe and healthy in their homes, schools, and workplaces by improving our nation’s response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.”
Additionally, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was attached as an amendment to VAWA, will give service providers and law enforcement agencies additional tools and resources to combat human trafficking. It is estimated that as many as 27 million people around the world, many of whom are women and girls forced into commercial sexual exploitation, are trafficked each year.
This Valentine’s Day, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates are partnering with One Billion Rising, an effort to rally people around the world to stand up against violence against women. As part of that effort, they’ll ask supporters to send a Valentine style message to members of Congress, urging them to stand with women and pass a strong, inclusive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
When a woman is in an abusive relationship, the effect is much broader than just the physical and emotional damage inflicted on her and her family. It creates real public health challenges. Understanding this reality led to the initial development of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, which had a profound impact on the fight to end violence against women. According to the Justice Department, from 1993 to 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence declined 64 percent. States have strengthened rape laws, and all states have passed laws making stalking a crime.
Planned Parenthood health centers proactively screen and refer for intimate partner violence in a safe setting, and are committed to their roles as confidential and trusted health services providers. That’s why, across the country, Planned Parenthood staff and supporters work in their local communities on sex education that includes important conversations about healthy relationships, and will continue to be there for women whenever they need help.