Franciscan Focus

Just a simple blog of a Secular Franciscan trying to live with a Franciscan focus.
(And one of these days I'll fix the template and add a Search feature. :-P)

23 January 2008

The importance of reading legislation 

Earlier today, one of my secular Franciscan brothers forwarded an email my way, in which folks were urged to ask their legislators to support passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).

On the surface, it sounds like a Good Thing: protecting women and girls from violence, oppression, and abuse. Who wouldn't want to encourage that? However, a closer look at this legislation reveals that it is problematic for Catholics to support.

I did actually carefully read through the bill itself and I found its descriptions of "violence" worded quite broadly. As one article said:

"I-VAWA makes the imposition of ideology of VAWA look like child's play. Within the proposed I-VAWA is carefully crafted verbiage presented as being protection of a woman's 'right to choice.' Review of this legislation shows that this section could make expressing an opinion contrary to someone's female intimate partner's desire to have an abortion a federal offense.

"For the first time in American history, this act could make expressing an opinion contrary to popular ideology a criminal act. This cannot be tolerated and must be opposed by everyone who values our freedom. A person's personal choice is their natural right; imposing ideology through the effect and force of law destroys all our right to choose, speak freely and more."

More importantly, the following section is absolutely cause for concern:

"Program Activities Supported- Assistance provided under this section shall be used to carry out, in each of the countries identified in the strategy required pursuant to subsection (a), 2 or more of the following program activities ... Carrying out health care initiatives, including ... promoting the integration of programs to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls into existing programs addressing child survival, women's health, family planning [in the secular realm, this doesn't mean NFP, it means contraception and abortion -- definitely can't be supported!], mental health, and HIV/AIDS prevention [in the secular realm this most likely means condoms (contraception) instead of abstinence education; again, contraception is against against Catholic teaching and can't be supported!], care, and treatment". (SEC. 300G: d, 2, a)

The fact that the bill was written with the input and advice of groups such as the Women's Edge Coalition and the Feminist Majority (source) -- groups known for their support of abortion -- is also cause for concern. And then there are the close ties between this bill and CEDAW -- it's highly likely that I-VAWA money will be used to lobby the U.S. Senate for ratification of CEDAW so that its UN monitoring committee can implement CEDAW's problematic mandates, one of which includes requiring unlimited abortion rights.

So, Husband Mike and I will instead be contacting our legislators to ask them not to support this bill.

And just as an FYI: Two peace and justice resources that I use and highly recommend are Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) and Catholics for the Common Good -- both faithful to the Church's teachings. :-)

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Blogger Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Thank you for the information and the links! I will definitely be checking those out.

23 January, 2008 05:45  

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