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GOP tricks can’t erase war on women

GOP tricks can’t erase war on women
By: Rep. John Conyers and Rep. Zoe Lofgren
May 6, 2012 09:22 PM EDT

Newt Gingrich is shown with an Etch A Sketch. | AP Photo

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/75959.html#ixzz1uEowloFQ

Republicans are sensing a monumental misstep with their attacks on women’s rights this election season. So they recently took a page from their presumptive presidential nominee and reached for the Etch A Sketch. There is no war on women, according to them, and never was. It was just a figment of our imagination.

But evidence of a war is all too clear. The latest battle is, ironically, being waged on a dangerous bill introduced by House Republican leaders to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

The VAWA first passed with strong bipartisan support in 1994. Subsequent efforts to increase its protections passed Congress with little controversy. The Senate continued this tradition last month by strengthening protections with a bipartisan supermajority.

But the House Republican bill is a far cry from the Senate bill. It not only fails to include the Senate’s improvements, like protections for Native American and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender victims, it eliminates long-standing protections for immigrant women — leaving them more vulnerable to abuse.

The VAWA was designed to protect all women and empower law enforcement to go after abusers. Of prime importance are protections for immigrant women — particularly vulnerable because of their dependence on spouses for immigration status. Abusers often use threats of deportation and permanent separation from children as powerful tools to control their battered wives.

The VAWA’s principal protection gives victims the ability to petition for their own immigration status. By letting women take control of their own lives and provide for their children, the law helps them leave abusive relationships and cooperate with police to hold perpetrators accountable.

The House bill butchers this protection by violating a sacred component of the process — that the wife’s petition be kept secret. Rather than preserve confidentiality protections, the bill would have immigration officers contact abusers whose wives are seeking protection — tipping them off to the fact that their wives are taking steps to leave.

This is a horrendous step backward. It is well-established that the most dangerous time for a battered wife is when she begins the separation process. When the abuser first realizes that his wife is asserting control over her own life, he often retaliates. The House Republican bill would make the government complicit in this.

The House bill further dismantles the VAWA protections by eviscerating the U visa process, which is critical to protecting women from severe abuse. The VAWA has long authorized police officers to recommend victims of serious crimes for U visas if necessary, both to protect the victims and to ensure their continued cooperation. Two-thirds of U visa recipients are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or rape.

The House bill would deny a victim protection unless she reports the crime within 60 days. This essentially abandons those who need protection most — women who can’t come forward because of a continuing threat of retaliation or the social stigma and psychological damage attendant on heinous crimes such as rape.

We don’t bar the prosecution of a serious crime for failure to report it within 60 days. Why deny a victim protection and law enforcement the tools it needs to secure the victim’s cooperation for such a failure?

The House Republican bill would also eliminate a long-standing provision that allows victims with U visas, which offer temporary benefits, to get permanent protection through green cards if they cooperate fully with law enforcement. Eliminating this opportunity would likely result in less cooperation, fewer prosecutions and more criminal conduct that endangers women.

The VAWA has had two purposes: to protect victims and to help prosecute perpetrators. The House Republican bill undermines both — eliminating existing protections for women and depriving police of the tools needed to hold offenders accountable. All this serves to undermine years of community-policing efforts that are widely credited with reducing violence against women across the country.

Republicans may have reached for the Etch A Sketch. But the picture they have drawn can’t easily be erased.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.

© 2012 POLITICO LLC

Filed under war on women women's rights VAWA Violence Against Women Act Republicans GOP Etch-A-Sketch

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John Boehner making a show on the House Floor.  Interesting, if there isn’t a war on women’s health, then where are the cuts on oil companies or defense?  Where are the cuts on real egregious spending?  And how much of my tax dollars are funding this man and others like him to work only to have my rights to health care levied against my ability to pay back outrageous student loans?

Filed under war on women women's health student loans Boehner House of Representatives Congress

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Gov. Walker quietly signs several controversial bills into law

Post by Emily Mills on 4/6/2012 4:00pm

There were no ceremonies with pleased onlookers and throngs of press for the dozens of bills Gov. Scott Walker signed into law late last night.

Among them were four highly controversial measures focused on women’s health care and sexual education:

repeal of the state’s Equal Pay law, which allowed victim’s of wage discrimination to collect damages of between $50,000 and $300,000, and arepeal of the Healthy Youth Act, which had provided requirements to schools that comprehensive and scientifically accurate information about everything from abstinence to contraception be taught at an age-appropriate level.

Walker also signed into law a ban on abortion coverage through policies as part of a health insurance exchange to be created under the federal health care reform law starting in 2014 (the only exceptions would be in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity); and a bill requiring women seeking abortions to undergo a physical exam and consult with a doctor alone, away from her friends and family, in order to make sure she isn’t “being pressured into the decision.” Doctors who break the law could be charged with a felony.

According to the AP, “Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said it was simpler to lump all the bills signed over the two days into one announcement.”

"The reason that Governor Walker signed these anti-women bills in the dark of the night, without public notice, before a holiday weekend, is that he is banking on the fact that women are NOT watching and women will not vote on June 5. In fact, he is betting his job on it," said Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

Several prominent Democratic leaders also fired off scathing critiques in response to the signings, including gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Falk.

Rep. Christine Sinicki and a list of lawmakers released the following statement:

By signing these bills into law, Gov. Walker has opened up another front in the Republican war on women. The governor has made it clear that he believes women do not deserve equal pay for equal work, that women cannot be trusted to make their own health care decisions and that the government should be dictating the curriculum to local school districts.

Emily Mills

Editor, Contributor

Emily Mills

Emily Mills is Editor and a contributing writer for dane101. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at

emilymills@dane101.com

Filed under war on women women's rights republican government wisconsin walker