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International Violence Against Women Act Actually Hurts Women

Tomorrow, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to consider the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).  Contrary to the stated anti-violence purpose of the bill, I-VAWA may launch an international assault on the unborn with federal tax dollars, and harm women world-wide by promoting a pro-abortion agenda. 

Section 3 of I-VAWA, the Statement of Policy, requires “support” for organizations that partner with certain non-governmental organizations (NGOs) known to promote the global expansion of abortion.  Moreover, it states that it is the policy of the United States to “increase communication and co-operation” with these pro-abortion NGOs.   

I-VAWA seeks to achieve “Millennium Development Goals,” which include “universal access to reproductive health,” a euphemism commonly used for abortion.  In addition, I-VAWA would require the United States to “fully implement” certain United Nations documents that have been used to push the liberalization of abortion laws.

I-VAWA also establishes an “Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues,” appointed by the Secretary of State, whose control over policy and use of “State Department resources” could advance an aggressive abortion agenda. 

Even I-VAWA’s definition of violence against women employs the rhetoric of the abortion industry.  Through its terminology (and without an indication to the contrary), any lack of “access” to abortion could be construed as a violent act against women.  I-VAWA has been designed as a weapon against laws that prohibit or regulate abortion and laws that protect health care providers’ conscience rights.  

There is no doubt the Obama Administration will drive its abortion agenda through this legislation. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been clear that the international promotion of abortion is a priority.  In her testimony on April 22, 2009, entitled, “New Beginnings: Foreign Policy Priorities in the Obama Administration.” Clinton stated to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that, “Reproductive health includes access to abortion…We are now an Administration that will protect the rights of women, including their rights to reproductive health care.”[1] 

Abortion, however, is a set-back to women’s rights.  As Alice Paul, author of the original Equal Protection Amendment, stated, “Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”   Purporting to protect women, I-VAWA actually empowers the exploiter – the abortion industry.


[1] Secretary of State Clinton’s testimony, “New Beginnings: Foreign Policy Priorities in the Obama Administration,” available at http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/111/48841.pdf