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172 Republicans Vote To Oppose Violence Against Women Act

Saman Javed

| Last updated 

172 Republicans Vote To Oppose Violence Against Women ActPA Images

The US House of Representatives has voted in approval of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), despite 172 Republicans opposing the legislation.

VAWA – which protects and provides services for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence – expired in December 2018 and hasn’t been renewed since due to issues raised by the Republican party.


Reauthorisation of the act was approved in a 244-172 vote yesterday, March 17, with 29 Republicans joining all Democrats in favour of the bill. It will now head to the Senate for debate.


The updated legislation will also integrate economic abuse as a form of domestic violence, a measure put forward by House representative Katie Porter.

Republicans have largely opposed the legislation because of concerns around gun laws.


The 2021 act closes a so-called ‘boyfriend loophole’ by barring dating partners who have been convicted of domestic abuse or stalking from purchasing firearms. Previously, the legislation only extended to married partners.

Jennifer Becker, deputy legal director of Legal Momentum told NPR: ‘Everything that we advocate for in VAWA is based on the reality of what we know victims are being subjected to, and what we know survivors need to seek safety, accountability, healing. These provisions are central to ensuring that people stay alive.’


The reauthorisation of the act was introduced to the House earlier this month by democrats Sheila Jackson Lee and Jerry Nadler, and Republican Brian Fitzpatrick.


Ahead of the vote, Lee described the act as an ‘armour’ of protection. ‘Domestic violence has surged in this nation. And we now have a moment in history,’ she told CNN.

‘This is a robust bill. We ensure that there is an armour of the federal government around these families so they can survive. We cannot let them down. I think the moment is here. Advocacy groups for women have welcomed the change, calling it a necessary step to protect victims,’ she added.


As per the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, ‘violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified’ during the pandemic.

In a statement following the vote, Joe Biden said that while VAWA is one of the legislative accomplishments he is most proud of, there is ‘still much work to do’.

‘Growing evidence shows that COVID-19 has only exacerbated the threat of intimate partner violence, creating a pandemic within a pandemic for countless women at risk for abuse. In short, this is an urgent crisis,’ he said.


If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. You can talk in confidence 24 hours a day to the national domestic violence helpline Refuge on 0808 2000 247.

Topics: News, Now, US Politics


CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    House votes to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act

  2. NPR

    House Renews Violence Against Women Act, But Senate Hurdles Remain

Saman Javed
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