It would take quite a monumental asshole to oppose providing assistance to victims of domestic violence. But, here we are in 2012, enmeshed in serious discussions about whether a woman's boss should be able to decide what health care she's allowed to purchase through insurance and if a woman carrying a stillborn fetus should be barred from having it removed until she gives birth. Exciting times, these. So it should come as no surprise that Senate Republicans have continued the noble GOP battle against mothers, wives, and daughters by opposing renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, a law that has historically had bipartisan support.
The Violence Against Women Act first became law in 1994, and has been renewed with near-unanimous support every time it's come up for review. But according to the New York Times, when it came up for renewal again last November, Republicans on the judiciary committee noticed that there were new provisions in the act that rubbed them the wrong way. While it passed out of committee, no Republicans voted for it. And now, it's headed for a full-on Senate Battle Royale, with Republicans crying that the bill's expansion is a nakedly political move. Jeff Sessions of Alabama says,
I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition. You think that's possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn't support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?
So, what are these awful sneaky political maneuvers the Democrats are pulling? Mandatory abortions for every woman planning on naming their babies "Jayden?" Guaranteed $100,000 government jobs for women who don't like how that guy looked at them that one time? Replacement of all "with the Stars" shows with Michael Moore documentaries about corporate greed? Not exactly. The issues that Sessions thinks "invite opposition" include an expansion of domestic violence services for American Indian women living on reservations and women in rural areas. The expanded law also buttresses the definition of "domestic violence" to include stalking. But the part of the Violence Against Women act that really chaps Jeff Sessions' ass is the provision that would grants temporary visas to undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic abuse and expand domestic violence services to same-sex couples. Those wiley liberals with their sneaky and divisive plans to reach out to underserved women and acknowledge the need for domestic violence services for same sex couples! What a bit of despicable political gamesmanship.
According to Republican Party leadership, the expanded bill will "dilute" the definition of domestic violence. But Republicans have painted themselves into a bit of an ideological corner, and some members of the party are concerned that doing things like opposing a popular bit of anti-domestic violence legislation may further the public impression that GOP stands for Genuflect before Our Penises or Girls Out, Please. In a recent meeting, Sen. Lisa Murkowski reminded her colleagues that they should maybe consider not acting like a bunch of guys that hate women, lest they run the risk of alienating half of the voting population. But in their defense, it's easy to forget that the 19th amendment passed, what with all the tireless job creating Republicans have been doing for the last two years.