Can I March For Women's Lives?

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Reuters AlertNet | Many women victim of 'gendercide,' study finds:

There is a shortfall of some 200 million women in the world -- "missing" due to what a three-year study on violence against women calls "gendercide."

The number of what the study describes as 'missing' women is based on the random birthrate of males and females and how many fewer women there are than what would be expected in the world population, said Theodor Winkler, head of a research center that directed the project.


This is sad ... but unfortunately not news. Violence against women has been happening for quite some time now. What is "news" is that someone might be starting to pay attention....

And where are the self-appointed guardians of womanhood, and what is their response to the "gendercide" problem? As I write this post, NOW's frontpage is primarily about the Alito nomination. Whatever Judge Alito might have written in a job application 20 years ago seems to pale in comparison to the sheer horror of 200 million dead women.

Oh, my mistake! NOW does have an action item to "Stop Violence Against Women" ... maybe they do care after all?

Congress went home last week and failed to finalize the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. It will not be easy to convene a conference committee and come to an agreement about what the final VAWA2005 should look like. But it is not impossible.

Wow, that's serious. Hey, one moment ... isn't violence against women already illegal in this country? What's the deal with VAWA, then?
Although VAWA's authorization ran out September 30 along with the funding for all government activities and programs, Congress voted to continue funding at last year's levels through December 17th. But without passage of VAWA 2005, no funding stability or cost of living increases are guaranteed and any new programs in the bill will be unable to get off the ground.

On Tuesday afternoon, October 4, the Senate passed its version of VAWA 2005, S. 1197, by a unanimous consent agreement, meaning that all of the Senators had no objections (or had withdrawn their objections) to the bill. A less comprehensive version of VAWA 2005 passed the House of Representatives on September 28 as H.R. 3402, the Department of Justice's yearly authorizing and funding bill

While the House version included reauthorization of crucial VAWA programs, it does not achieve all that is needed. At the last minute just before the vote, the Republican leadership dropped important provisions dealing with immigrants and women of color.

The Senate bill still includes many of these House-dropped provisions, but faced its own trimming as a key program was dropped that would have extended coverage for unemployment insurance to domestic violence survivors who lose their jobs as they hide or flee from violence.

Whenever there are differences between similar bills that are passed in the House and Senate a "conference committee" with representatives from both houses, must meet to work out the differences between the two bills and come up with one final bill before the President can sign it. Because the House bill is part of a larger Department of Justice bill, H.R. 3402, and the Senate bill, S. 1191, is free-standing, this makes holding a conference committee even harder.


O-o-o-okay. If I understand NOW's claims correctly, both the House and the Senate passed VAWA. However, there are some differences between the two versions (which is common), and those differences need to be resolved.

Meanwhile, here are some alarming statistics from the WHO about sexual violence:

  • In the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, in a representative sample of over 6000 men, 7% reported having sexually and physically abused their wives, 22% reported using sexual violence without physical violence and 17% reported that they had used physical violence alone.

  • A growing number of studies, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa, indicate that the first sexual experience of girls is often unwanted and forced. In a case-control study, for example, of 191 adolescent girls (mean age 16.3 years) attending an antenatal clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, and 353 nonpregnant adolescents matched for age and neighbourhood or school, 31.9% of the study cases and 18.1% of the controls reported that force was used during their sexual initiation. When asked about the consequences of refusing sex, 77.9% of the study cases and 72.1% of the controls said that they feared being beaten if they refused to have sex.

  • A study undertaken under the auspices of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, estimated that 45,000 - 50,000 women and children are trafficked annually to the United States.

  • Other documented forms of sexual violence against female patients include the involvement of medical staff in the practice of clitoridectomy in Egypt, forced gynaecological examinations and the threat of forced abortions in China, and inspections of virginity in Turkey.

Also according to the WHO:
An estimated 100 to 140 million girls and women in the world today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation, (FGM) and 2 million girls are at risk from the practice each year.

So clearly, a Congressional conference committee is the top issue in preventing violence against women.


Back to the AlertNet story for a surprising revelation:
Winkler said violence against women was the fourth-leading cause of premature death on the planet, ranking behind only disease, hunger and war.

"It starts in the womb. There are societies where male births are preferred, particularly if the number of births are limited. That's where abortion for gender reasons starts," he said.


Remember the March for Women's Lives? I wonder ... would they welcome me as a fellow marcher if I chose to march for unborn women's lives?

Tip to Sarah M. in the AfterAbortion comments for pointing out this article....

(cross-posted to Naaman the Ex-Leper)

1 Comment

You won't be welcome but march anyway. I'll join you.




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