Washington, D.C. – As national organizations working to end domestic and sexual violence in the United States, we are very disappointed that the House of Representatives passed a bill that puts the lives, safety and health of victims at risk.
Members of Congress who voted for this bill voted against some of our nation’s most vulnerable women and children. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) would prevent many domestic and sexual violence victims from getting the medical and behavioral health services they need because it allows states to waive essential health benefits, which mandate coverage for mental health care and other critically important services. It would make buying insurance more expensive and increase out-of-pocket expenses, which would push coverage out of reach entirely for some middle- and low-income victims. And it would give abusers another tool with which to threaten and control their families because its continuous coverage requirement means coverage would be unaffordable for people who lose their employer-sponsored health coverage.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four American women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, with 70 percent of victims first experiencing abuse before the age of 25. Nearly 23 million women have been the victim of rape or attempted rate in their lifetime, with 40 percent experiencing the assault before the age of 18.
We urge the Senate to reject this attempt to repeal the protections and services that are so critical to domestic and sexual violence victims and their families.
Futures Without Violence
Futures Without Violence is a national nonprofit organization leading groundbreaking educational programs, policies, and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world. Providing leadership from offices in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston, FUTURES has trained thousands of professionals and advocates—such as doctors, nurses, judges, athletic coaches, and other community influences—on improving responses to violence and abuse. The organization was a driving force behind the passage of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act in 1984 and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994—the nation’s first two comprehensive federal responses to the violence that plagues families and communities.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) is the voice of victims and survivors and works as the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence. NCADV does this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive change. For more information about NCADV, visit www.ncadv.org.
National Network to End Domestic Violence
NEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority; change the way communities respond to domestic violence; and strengthen efforts against intimate partner violence at every level of government. Our signature programs include:
- Empowering domestic violence survivors to lead independent lives free from abuse;
- Supporting the 56 statewide and territorial coalitions against domestic and sexual violence;
- Advancing economic empowerment and financial literacy for domestic violence survivors and their allies;
- Improving high-profile media coverage of domestic violence cases;
- Educating survivors and their allies about safe technological practices and how batterers misuse technology to further abuse;
- Building the capacity of local and statewide coalitions against domestic and sexual violence;
- Providing state-specific legal information for domestic violence survivors; and
- Promoting federal legislation that effectively holds perpetrators accountable and strengthens services for survivors and their children.