Monday, February 11, 2013

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Action Alert

From Pat Reuss of National Organization for Women:

Dear VAWA champions,

If you have the chance to make more calls or send notes to Senators Monday morning, attached is a new fact sheet rebutting the Heritage Foundation's untruths about VAWA.  The floor discussion begins at 2 and the vote will be 5-ish, but as you know, things change so stay tuned.  Thanks for all your hard work on VAWA.   below are some of our opponents clips, including the Heritage Foundation's statement in opposition to VAWA that the NTF fact sheet rebuts.  P

The Family Research Council has joined Religious Right activists and organizations including Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Bauer, Concerned Women For America, the Southern Baptist Convention, in opposing the reauthorization because it includes new provisions protecting LGBT people, immigrants and Native Americans

Here is what the Heritage Foundation is sending to Congress – I can't find the link so it's scrolled below.


"NO" on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

February 04, 2013
This week, the Senate is expected to vote on the deceptively named Violence Against Women Act of 2013 (VAWA) (S.47).  The bill would reauthorize and expand the 1994 law that made domestic violence ­ typically handled by state and local governments ­ a federal crime.
The Senate¹s "reauthorization" of VAWA would broaden the definition of domestic violence to include causing "emotional distress."  This expansive and vague language will increase fraud and false allegations, for which there is no legal recourse.
It would also include radical changes that greatly alter the original purpose of the law, already problematic in its own right.  Using federal agencies to fund the routine operations of domestic violence programs that state and local governments could provide is a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that truly are the province of the federal government.  Simply expanding the VAWA framework with extensive new provisions and programs that have been inadequately assessed is sure to facilitate waste, fraud, and abuse and will not better protect women or victims of violence generally.
This bill also perpetuates the federal government¹s practice of ineffective redistributionist policies.  We have noted:
In an imperfect world, there will always be work to be done to prevent acts of violence.  But the ³solutions² put in place by VAWA are based on the idea that violence against women is a result of their "weaker social, political, and financial status." Thus, the "substance of VAWA focused largely on redistributing power and resources to female victims."
Moreover, there has not been a single large-scale, scientifically rigorous evaluation of VAWA¹s effectiveness.  This is underscored by the fact that there is not sound Constitutional grounding for the policies imposed by VAWA.  Heritage has explained:
The VAWA would increase federal tax dollars going to groups who work on domestic violence issues, increase legal aid to victims, expand the definition of violence to include stalking and provide handouts to local courts to hire more counseling services. These ideas all sound good, yet they have no authorization in the Constitution. They¹re more properly handled at the state and local level.
Additionally, for the first time in our nation¹s history, the bill would allow non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence on tribal lands to be tried in those tribal courts, thereby eliminating the right of the accused to face a jury of their peers.  Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one¹s accusers, the right to bear arms, and all custody/visitation rights.  It is unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous.
Expanding a constitutionally dubious law to include new groups would require more funding and resources in order to carry out the new provisions.  This bill¹s catchy name does not conceal the harmful, ineffective, and dubiously grounded policy inherent in it.
Heritage Action opposes the so-called Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and will include it as a key vote on our scorecard.

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