The Latest Empty Gesture

The GOP candidates touting their work to prevent domestic violence on the airwaves are obscuring the truth about the GOP's real record on Capitol Hill.

Republican Candidates Ignore Their Party’s Record When It Comes To Domestic Violence

Republican candidates facing persistent unpopularity with women continue to do whatever they can to muddy the waters on their anti-women policy positions. Last month, we documented how several GOP candidates for Senate came out in support of over-the-counter birth control–a move designed to look accommodating but in fact would be a tax on women.

Now they are at it again. This time, numerous conservative candidates are putting out advertisements highlighting their work to protect women from domestic violence. But just like before, these claims obscure the real records of many GOP officeholders, who have a consistent record of opposing common sense policies to further protect women from violence.

Here are some examples of positions that these candidates won’t be talking about in their new ads:

1. Voting Against Reauthorizing The Violence Against Women Act. A majority of the Republicans in the House voted to oppose renewing the Violence Against Women Act last year. After nearly a year of Republican obstruction on the measure, the House of Representatives finally voted to renew VAWA and pass a bipartisan Senate-approved version of the bill. But even as the bill passed, there were 138 votes against the bill, all from members of the GOP. Even a watered-down version of the bill offered by Republicans failed to gain the support of their conference.

2. Taking Away Free Screening And Counseling From Survivors Of Domestic Violence. Under the Affordable Care Act, survivors of domestic violence are now entitled to free screening and counseling as a preventative service, critical to improve both health and safety. Survivors of domestic violence are more likely to have chronic health conditions and use the emergency room more frequently, and are more likely to have HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases because they lack the power to negotiate condom usage. Identifying current or past violence can help prevent further abuse and lead to improved health status. But of course, with a party platform to repeal the ACA, Republicans would effectively remove that vital service.

3. Defending Easy Access To Guns By Domestic Abusers And Stalkers. Weak gun laws leave too many women facing a fatal end to domestic abuse. In all but nine states, you can be convicted of stalking and still walk into a store, pass a background check, and buy a gun. The consequences are horrifying: more women have been murdered by an intimate partner with a gun since 2001 than the total number of U.S. troops killed in action during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined. Several leaders have proposed laws to close these gaps, but conservative members of Congress beholden to the gun lobby refuse to help. The only time they seem to moderate their position defending stalkers is when it becomes too publicly humiliating — like when Gabby Giffords called out Arizona GOP Candidate Martha McSally.

BOTTOM LINE: The GOP candidates touting their work to prevent domestic violence on the airwaves are obscuring the truth about the GOP’s real record on Capitol Hill. The reality is that Republicans have disputed the reauthorization of VAWA, continue to support giving stalkers easy access to guns, and would remove preventative health services for survivors of domestic violence. The attempts to brush over those facts are just the latest empty gesture to appeal to voters during election season, and they won’t trick anyone.

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