Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). Even though the content of IVAWA does not deal with abortion, this widely supported bill had been held up by anti-abortion politics. Finally, the bill emerged from committee with no anti-abortion amendment. However, to pass the bill out of committee, the committee essentially stripped funding and kept funding to existing resources.
IVAWA provides for the development of a comprehensive strategy to reduce violence against women and girls internationally including an emergency response to critical or widespread incidents of violence in situations of armed conflict. The Act also directs both the Defense Department to incorporate prevention of and response to violence against women and girls into trainings of foreign military, police, and judicial officers.
We still need to take action to try to get this bill passed by the House of Reps and brought to a full floor vote, although it’s not looking like there’s a great chance as the lame duck session is quickly expiring. If it doesn’t pass, it will be re-introduced in 2011. But as they say: It ain’t over til it’s over!