(WOMENSENEWS)–Attorney General John Ashcroft announced plans to appoint two women who are adamantly opposed to the Violence Against Women Act to the advisory committee that helps implement the law.
Ashcroft invited Nancy M. Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women’s Forum, and Margot Hill, a Boston police detective and IWF board member to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Violence Against Women. The appointments are not official yet because many of the invitees have not yet responded.
The Independent Women’s Forum is opposed to the Violence against Women Act, saying it is unconstitutional and urges women to distrust men. They have given congressional testimony in opposition to the law and supported a lawsuit challenging it. In the organization’s Web site, the group argues that the legislation “is based on ignorance, non-facts, and wishful thinking about the power of the federal government to curb violence between intimate partners.”
Pfotenhauer told the Washington Post that she was “not at all” trying to undo the law, but hoped to give states more flexibility in implementing it.
Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said, “I’m appalled but I’m not shocked” at the appointments. She said the Independent Women’s Forum “makes light of violence against women on a regular basis.”
The committee advises the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services on implementation of the Violence Against Women Act. The law, originally passed in 1994 and renewed in 2000, provides funds to track down domestic abusers, expand shelters for battered women and programs to prevent violent crimes against women on college campuses.
The domestic violence committee is currently dominated by Clinton appointees; it is unclear how Ashcroft’s nominations will affect the balance of the committee.
For more information:
Violence Against Women Office
Violence Against Women Act of 1994:
Independent Women’s Forum
The Fine Print of Federal Domestic Violence Laws: