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Jewish lawmakers introduce act to curb international violence against women

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Three Jewish Congress members introduced legislation that seeks to curb international violence against women.

U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) are the lead sponsors of the International Violence Against Women Act of 2012 that was introduced Thursday. 

The legislation would provide funding to gender-based foreign assistance programs and establish the Office of Global Women’s Issues within the State Department.

"It would give the U.S. State Department new tools ranging from health programs and survivor services to legal reforms to promoting economic opportunities and education for women," said a statement from Schakowsky’s office.

Jewish Women International welcomed the initiative, calling it "an opportunity for the U.S. Congress to demonstrate its commitment to building a safer and more secure world." 

A number of Jewish groups are backing a version of the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act passed recently with bipartisan support in the Senate that enhances protections for LGBT and Native American communities and preserves statutes that offer legal status to immigrant victims of crimes.

The groups oppose the Republican version passed in the House, which dilutes the protections for illegal immigrants and removes the enhancements for the LGBT and Native American communities.

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