Share & Connect
It looks as if women’s rights are the hot button on the political landscape this year. There was fighting at the contraception mandate front, as well as over the efforts in Virginia and Ohio to force ultrasounds before an abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.
A measure in February attempted to cut off all financial aid to Planned Parenthood. Something that would seem to be more clear-cut than the previous legislations, The Violence Against Women Act, is up for renewal, and some provisions within the act are putting Republicans in an even greater quandary than they were before.
No politician wants to look like he or she is not against domestic violence. The title alone, as some Republican politicians are pointing out, can make the legislation politically risky to oppose, particularly in an election year. As Senator Roy Blunt put it, “Obviously, you want to be for the title. If Republicans can’t be for it, we need to have a very convincing alternative.”
There is no alternative as of yet, and so Republicans are forced to grapple with the current version. According to the New York Times, it would extend federal grants that are already in place to battered women’s shelters, as well as to local law enforcement. Same-sex couples are included in programs as well, as are transgender victims. So are immigrants without status, that have been victims of domestic violence, and more of them would be able to claim temporary visas. The act would also expand efforts to reach the Indian tribes in some rural areas.
According to Fox News, the measure would also give tribes the authority to prosecute persons who are not members of the tribe. The concern is that this move gives tribal courts too much authority over individuals who are not formally part of a tribe.
It is particularly the last provisions that make the legislation so hard to swallow for Republican politicians. They believe that the overall message is being diluted with these extra provisions. Furthermore, they see some groups as undeserving of this aid.
Republicans allege that the timing of the Act is part of a larger Democrat strategy to “rig legislation that the GOP can’t back,” according to the Huffington Post. This is particularly touchy in an election year in which Congress has a 9 percent approval rating.
Senate Democrats hope to bring up the bill before Easter break.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/