Fighting gender-based violence and discrimination: Your civic action to-do list for 6-3-19

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3. Health care should be judgment-free and accessible, not prejudiced against women and LGBTQ individuals. For the last decade, the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) has helped mitigate sex discrimination, but these protections are under attack.

In a nutshell: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just proposed a new rule that would upend the Health Care Rights Law and allow providers to discriminate against patients based on gender identity and abortion history. Coming on the heels of the Federal Religious Refusal Rule, it is clear that this rule is the Administration’s latest attempt to stigmatize women and LGBTQ individuals as well as prevent them from making decisions about their bodies, health, and future.

Take Action: Submit a public comment to voice your opposition to this rollback on civil rights. You have 60 days after the rule’s official publication in the Federal Register – we’ll keep you updated on the timeline. Check out JWI’s resources on how to submit a comment and why it’s important


2. Just weeks ago, the Pentagon reported a staggering four-year high in the number of active-duty service members who said they experienced sexual assault in 2018 – a nearly 38% spike from 2016. Unfortunately, the majority of sexual assault cases in the military (about 70%) still go unreported. The brave women and men who serve our country deserve better.

In a nutshell: We need legislation that protects service members from sexual violence and holds perpetrators accountable. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) to ensure that professional prosecutors handle harassment and assault crimes outside the chain of commands and address many victims’ fear of reporting. Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Joni Ernst also introduced bipartisan legislation to create a civilian advisory committee on sexual assault prevention to advise the Department of Defense.

Take Action: Honoring our service members means protecting women in the military – so encourage your Members of Congress to support initiatives that end this alarming trend. With a record number of female veterans in Congress, it is time to take action on military sexual misconduct. Learn more from the Department of Defense’s annual report.


1. Gender-based violence rates remain staggeringly high: Every 16 hours, a woman is murdered by a male intimate partner with a gun. More than 80% of Native women will be a victim of intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or stalking, often by non-tribal members. One in five women are raped in their lifetime. We must stop this trauma.

In a nutshell: The Violence Against Women Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585) passed the House with strong bipartisan support two months ago. It maintains protections for all victims, makes vital investments in sexual assault prevention, ensures sexual predators who prey on Native women can be held accountable, protects victims of dating violence from intimate partner homicide, and increases victims’ access to safe housing and economic stability. The Senate has yet to follow the House’s lead and introduce a VAWA that maintains these protections and adds these modest but critical improvements. 

Take Action: Sign JWI’s petition on VAWA to urge the Senate to support a companion bill to H.R.1585 and send this action alert or write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.