Apparently The Violence Against Women Act died last night.  How could this happen?  How does a country founded on freedom and equal rights continue to deny that very thing to certain people?  How can House Majority Leader Eric Cantor have supported such a bill while he was seemingly working to support other non-partisan efforts.

For those just tuning in, one of the items up for consideration at the conclusion of the 112th Congress was the Senate bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, otherwise known as VAWA.  This act was originally passed in 1994.  This time when it came up for renewal, the Senate version had newly added tribal protections for American Indian women, granting tribes limited authority to prosecute sexual-assault crimes on their lands–whether the crimes are committed by American Indians or not.  Eric Cantor campaigned against this version of the bill.  Instead, Cantor offered up a version which excluded the new American Indian protections, along with those for undocumented immigrants as well as lesbian and trans women, which the House passed.

Eric Cantor did not offer up any reasons for his actions to deny every woman in America the same legal protections against violent perpetrators.   When MSNBC reported this story, they listed the following quotes:

  •  In December on Melissa Harris-Perry, National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill said the fight was “draining the resources of the advocacy groups that have been working on re-authorization for two solid years. Many of the advocacy groups also provide services; their resources are being drained. I don’t think that’s a mistake.”
  • The chief Democratic advocate for the VAWA reauthorization, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, released a statement that was reported in Jezebel:  “The House Republican leadership’s failure to take up and pass the Senate’s bipartisan and inclusive VAWA bill is inexcusable. This is a bill that passed with 68 votes in the Senate and that extends the bill’s protections to 30 million more women. But this seems to be how House Republican leadership operates. No matter how broad the bipartisan support, no matter who gets hurt in the process, the politics of the right wing of their party always comes first.”

Can a representative for the people, and the GOP,  really be so indifferent to the rights of women?  Is what O’Neill suggested, a desire and plan to exhaust advocacy groups and their resource, really true?  Why be determined to so actively block equal protections for only certain groups of women: Native American, Undocumented Immigrants, and those who identify as Lesbian and Transgender?   Don’t you want to demand an explanation?

Feel free to contact his office and ask. http://cantor.house.gov/contact

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