Messaging: Women

December 1, 2013

Below is recommended language on two issues that are often referred to as “women’s issues,” contraception and domestic violence, statistics worth knowing about each, and responses to the attacks you can anticipate when debating these topics.

TOPLINES

Contraception
  • This is America. Religious liberty and protecting women’s health are both core American values. They need not be in conflict.
  • Letting corporations deny health care to anyone who works for them isn’t how you respect religion.
  • The President’s updated policy means women can get coverage for birth control without additional cost no matter where they work and no religious organization will be required to pay for it.
  • If Republicans really cared about faith, they’d listen to the religious institutions they claim to be concerned about, like Catholic Hospitals, that support the President’s policy.
  • We can respect both religious liberty and women’s health OR start letting corporations prevent parents from deciding when and how many kids to have.
Domestic Violence
  • Protecting all women from abuse and cracking down on sex traffickers should be a no-brainer.
  • A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 7 times if he’s got a gun. Our laws should protect all women and children from violence and keep violent criminals from getting guns.
  • Sadly, NRA lobbyists and their Congressional allies would rather go to the mat for abusers than their victims.
  • It’s incredible that any politician would champion the rights of violent criminals at the expense of women and children’s safety.
  • Republicans in Congress opposed renewing protections for abused women and children while fighting for the power of criminals, rapists, and stalkers to get guns.
  • Republicans in Congress wanted to exclude certain groups of women from the Violence Against Women Act’s full protections and strip away existing protections against sex trafficking.

WORTH KNOWING

Contraception
Domestic Violence
  • Women are nearly 6 times more likely to be shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners than murdered by male strangers.
  • A woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than 7 times if he has access to a gun.
  • Women in states with higher gun ownership rates are almost 5 times more likely to be murdered by a gun than women in states with lower gun ownership rates.
  • Domestic violence has dropped by more than half since the Violence Against Women Act became law in 1994. With more victims coming forward, reports of abuse have also increased by 50%.
  • Women bear the brunt of domestic and sexual violence:
    • In the U.S., 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner every year.
    • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
    • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBTQ) victims experience domestic violence in 25% to 35% of relationships — about the same rate as in the general population.
    • American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races, and one in three Indian women reports having been raped during her lifetime.
  • Many Senate and House Republicans tried to exclude immigrant, Native American, and gay and lesbian victims from the Act’s full protections last year.

 ATTACKS + RESPONSES

Contraception
ATTACK: “Obama’s policy is an assault on our Constitutional protection of religious freedom.”

RESPONSE:

  • If the President’s political opponents really cared about faith, they’d listen to the religious institutions they claim to be concerned about, like Catholic Hospitals, that support the policy solution.
  • Washington Republicans are actually proposing that any corporation should be able to deny any health service — whether birth control, cancer tests, or any other care — to anyone who works for them.
  • That’s an ideological agenda that undermines the values and priorities of every major religious group in America that has fought for decades to expand access to health care.
ATTACK: “Catholics oppose Obama’s new contraception policy.”

RESPONSE:

  • Obama’s popular solution is backed by the majority of Catholics and the Catholic institutions that are actually affected by the rule, including Catholic Hospitals — which represents the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the country.
  • Given that nearly 99 percent of women have relied on contraception in their lives and religious institutions are happy with Obama’s compromise, is it any surprise that it would be so popular?
  • We can respect both religious liberty and women’s health or start letting corporations prevent parents from deciding when and how many kids to have. There’s no doubt what most Americans would choose.
Domestic Violence
ATTACK: “Democrats are adding provisions to VAWA just to pick a fight for political advantage.”

RESPONSE:

  • All women deserve protection from abuse — no matter if they are white, black, immigrant, Native American or gay — and no violent criminal should get away with hurting them. There should be nothing controversial or partisan about this.
  • The only senators who voted against the Violence Against Women Act were Republican men. Like Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has said, maybe they should go home and talk to their wives and daughters about what their actions say.
  • Experts say the Violence Against Women Act has been the single most effective federal effort to combat domestic violence and sexual assault in the U.S., but we need to do more to bring all victims of abuse in under its full protections. That’s what Democrats are trying to do.
ATTACK: “House Republicans are just trying to curb VAWA immigration fraud.”

RESPONSE:

  • They’re actually rewriting the Violence Against Women Act on behalf of lobbyists for a mail-order bride service, so it’d be easier for their clients to get away with abusing vulnerable women and harder for our law enforcement to hold them accountable.
  • These politicians haven’t even studied whether there’s even a problem or consulted with the experts or advocates working tirelessly to protect battered immigrant women.
  • We must show our politicians that no amount of promised campaign contributions is worth selling out vulnerable victims to sex traffickers.
ATTACK: “VAWA is a slush fund for feminist causes that harms men unfairly and promotes the end of marriages.”

RESPONSE:

  • Protecting our mothers, sisters, and daughters from abuse and violent crime should be important to all Americans.
  • Domestic violence devastates the entire family. With 15 million children exposed to family violence every year, protecting women against abuse means protecting children.
  • There’s nothing “pro-marriage” or “pro-family” about leaving women and children trapped in violent homes.
Category: Women