WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - Within weeks of one another, the Senate and House of Representatives have re-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act of 2019 (IVAWA).
Experts from the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) called the bills "Trojan horse" legislation that Democrats have used repeatedly to sneak abortion, gender issues and contraception into bills that purport to protect women and children from violence.
The Senate version of the legislation was sponsored by Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). Representative Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the House version of the bill.
NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, honored Schakowsky, who is not Catholic, with a perfect score on its congressional scorecard in 2000. In response to her award, Schakowsky said, "I will continue to work on Capitol Hill to bring health care to all families."
Neither the House nor the Senate bills specifically address contraception, abortion or transgender issues, but they put forward "gender analysis" activities. The problem with these activities is they are defined not in the legislation but in agency policy documents drafted during the Obama administration.
"In addition to being a pressing human rights issue, violence against women and girls contributes to inequality and political instability, making it a security issue as well as a moral issue for us all," said Senator Collins. "Our bipartisan bill would ensure that the U.S. continues to take a leadership role in combatting such violence around the world."
Senator Isakson expressed a similar justification: "The United States must continue to be a leader in the fight to end gender-based violence around the world. The consequences of violence against girls and women at home and abroad are far-reaching, and the International Violence Against Women Act will help us better coordinate these important efforts."
According to Rebecca Oas, associate director of research for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), since IVAWA doesn't specifically exclude using funds for abortion, contraception or transgender issues, voters must assume that they will be used for those purposes.
"Policy documents from agencies like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be used to define terms like 'gender analysis,'" she told Church Militant. "Pro-life organizations have been urging the Trump administration to revise these Obama-era policy documents, but so far that hasn't happened."
"Gender analysis" is a term that has popped up in other recent legislation. It was included in the Women's Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act passed last year. According to C-Fam, "These gender policies are used by federal agencies and mandate the provision of 'reproductive health' and contraception as well as LGBT-related programming."
"This is a strategy Democrats are using to press legislation to protect women and children into service for pro-abortion causes," says Oas.
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute has endorsed IVAWA. Ominously, Guttmacher says the legislation "goes further" than previous versions and directly links reproductive health access with prevention of gender-based violence.
Oas told Church Militant that voters should contact their congressional representative about the legislation and also urge the Trump administration to make it a priority to revise the Obama-era policy documents related to women's reproductive health and "gender analysis."
Calls to senators can reference S. 3037.
Calls to the House of Representative can reference H.R. 5267.