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On Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Republican Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks joined Democrats in the House by voting in favor of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The bill passed the house on a vote of 244-172 with 29 Republicans voting in favor. It should be well-noted that the other Iowa Republicans, Representative Ashley Hinson and Representative Randy Feenstra, voted against the bill. 

 

VAWA, though the name sounds like it should be a good thing to protect women, is greatly tainted with “poison pills” regarding second amendment rights and transgender activism that many conservative groups have been raising the alarm about. The National Rifle Association came out opposed to the legislation as provisions were inserted to strip Americans of their second amendment rights in certain cases. The Executive Director of the NRA Institute for Legislative action was quoted“…Speaker Pelosi and anti-gun lawmakers chose to insert gun control provisions into this  bill in 2019 to pit pro-gun lawmakers against it so that they can falsely and maliciously claim these lawmakers don’t care about women…This is Washington at its filthiest. It’s proof that anti-gun lawmakers care more about smearing opponents than passing meaningful legislation.”

 

Concerned Women for America (CWFA) issued a letter to Congress urging members to vote against the reauthorization of VAWA as it contains provisions to give preferential treatment and grant services intended for biological women to men posing as women.

 

“This is an affront to the reality and dignity of biological women who have suffered at the hand of abusive men and endangers the privacy and safety of all abused women seeking places of refuge for shelter and recovery. There is simply no reason to compromise a female victim’s privacy and safety by granting access to male-bodied transgender individuals in women’s shelters.”

 

Though CWFA supports many aspects of the bill, it is evident to them that the gender identity portions of the bill forfeit the intended good. 

 

Representative Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), leading the opposition to the bill on the floor, stated, “The bill extends the law’s protections to persons ‘of any gender,’ drives needed resources away from combating crimes against women, promotes an unproven ‘restorative justice’ approach, and erodes religious liberties,” as reported by Fox News.

 

Given the major red flags as it relates to truly protecting women, and not to mention protecting an individual’s second amendment rights, it is curious that Miller-Meeks would break with the other Republicans from Iowa and support such a bill. It is very disappointing to say the least. Thank you to Hinson and Feenstra for standing up for the women of Iowa.

 

Apparently, according to NPR, Senator Joni Ernst will be spearheading the efforts for a counterproposal and has mentioned the second amendment points will not stand in the Senate. It would also be beneficial in keeping the bill to its true nature if the portions on gender identity are removed in the Senate. Hopefully, Ernst will do better than Miller-Meeks in protecting true women without trampling on individual’s second amendment rights. Iowa is watching. 

Author: Kelsey Kennedy

Kelsey Kennedy is a wife and a mother. She's writing under a pseudonym.