Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts strongly condemns the U.S. House’s passage of a version of the Violence Against Women Act that eliminates important protections for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has provided essential services to protect survivors of domestic violence, including education and training programs, establishment of a national hotline, and grants to law enforcement agencies to better enforce domestic abuse laws.
In our health centers, we see firsthand the challenges that survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence face. All members of our health center staff have been trained to identify the signs of intimate partner violence and provide non-judgmental and confidential support. We counsel patients on community and local resources available to support them. Through our work with these partnering organizations, we have seen the success of VAWA and regard its reauthorization as an opportunity to continue and build upon these successes so that more people are protected and connected to these important resources.
We applaud the Senate for passing a bipartisan bill that expands protections, especially for vulnerable and underserved populations. The House version not only excludes these important protections but removes a long-standing provision to protect the confidentiality of immigrant women who are survivors of abuse. We are extremely disappointed that the House has once again demonstrated its willingness to disregard women’s health for political gain. We are thankful that President Obama has come out in support of the full protections of the Violence Against Women Act and has promised to veto the House version passed yesterday.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider in the state. For over 80 years PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and freedom of choice through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
Media Relations Coordinator
May 17, 2012