Category Archives: Blog Posts

Reflections on the Colloquium: Detainment, Detention, and Imprisonment: State Authority Over Marginalized LGBT Communities

There is perhaps no word that more strongly connotes academia at its stuffiest than “journal.” As someone who arrived at law school slightly suspicious of being drawn into the ivory tower, I did not sign up for a journal blindly. I had little interest in participating in an elite conversation just for the sake of having been invited to join the conversation. I decided I would only join a journal if I felt it expressed some sort of vision of what the law could be or should be, and if I felt it had some sort of relevance outside of the ivory tower. At JLG, I found a community committed to using its voice and privilege to express such a vision. Continue reading Reflections on the Colloquium: Detainment, Detention, and Imprisonment: State Authority Over Marginalized LGBT Communities


B.H. v. Easton Area School District: The Third Circuit Hearts Boobies, But Not Titties

How Labeling Terms for Women’s Body Parts “Vulgar” Can Impede Education and Advocacy for Women’s Health Issues

By Jillian Stonecipher[1]

The Third Circuit recently decided that the First Amendment prevents public school districts from punishing students for wearing wrist bands reading “I ♥ boobies! (Keep a Breast)” in school in order to advocate for breast cancer awareness.[2] In a 9–5 en banc decision, the court held that the bracelets were not “plainly lewd” and discussed an “important social issue,” and therefore could not be banned under either Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District[3] or Bethel School District No. 403 v. Fraser.[4] The court rejected the school district’s arguments that the phrase “I ♥ boobies!” was plainly lewd, that the district had the authority to censor any ambiguously lewd language commenting on social issues, and that it needed to censor the students’ advocacy in order to prevent sexual harassment in the school.[5]

When the plaintiffs, two middle school girls, refused to remove their wrist bands, which were developed by the Keep A Breast Foundation to educate young women about breast cancer, the school suspended them for 1.5 days and banned them from attending the school’s winter dance.[6] The students sued for an injunction, and the district court granted one, finding that the students were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim.[7]

The Third Circuit’s affirmation of this finding is a win both for speech and for gender equality. The case will make it more difficult for school administrators to punish students for engaging in political or social speech that deals with health and/or sex and sexuality—perhaps leading to freer, less stigmatized discussions of not only breast cancer prevention and body image issues, but also safe sex practices and rape and sexual harassment prevention. The decision provides welcome support for students in light of Supreme Court precedent that has created an unfriendly environment for student advocacy. In Tinker, the Court held that students may not express their opinions in school if their speech is reasonably expected to substantially disrupt school.[8] And in Fraser, the Court found that public schools can prohibit the use of “vulgar, lewd, profane, or plainly offensive speech,” even if it is not obscene, could not be banned in an adult context, and does not disrupt the school’s operation.[9]

The Third Circuit, however, read a limitation into school’s ability to ban “offensive” speech from the Court’s 2007 decision in Morse v. Frederick.[10] The majority in Morse held that a school principal had the power to “safeguard” students from a message that could “reasonably be regarded as encouraging illegal drug use.”[11] In a concurrence, however, Justice Alito conditioned his vote (which was necessary for the majority) on the “understanding that (1) [the majority opinion] goes no further than to hold that a public school may restrict speech that a reasonable observer would interpret as advocating illegal drug use and (2) it provides no support for any restriction of speech that can plausibly be interpreted as commenting on any political or social issue.”[12]    

The Third Circuit read that concurrence as controlling (an approach that has been hotly contested among circuit courts), and found that it limited Fraser such that the case “does not permit ambiguously lewd speech to be categorically restricted if it can plausibly be interpreted as political or social speech.”[13] The court found that “Fraser is not a blank check to categorically restrict any speech that touches on sex or any speech that has the potential to offend.”[14]

This novel interpretation of Morse and Fraser prevents school administrators’ hang-ups about sex and sexual organs from stifling student speech on important issues affecting their bodies—a wise approach, considering the possibility that school administrators “if empowered to do so, might eliminate all student speech touching on sex or merely having the potential to offend.”[15] In fact, the administrators of EASD “initially testified that they could ban the word  ‘breast,’ even if used in the context of a breast-cancer-awareness campaign, because the word, by itself, ‘can be construed as [having] a sexual connotation.”[16] If the school district had retained the discretion to define “offensive” speech for itself, young women in the district would not have been able to use any word to discuss a serious health issue merely because other students might find any reference to a breast sexual. As the court concluded, “[i]f schools can categorically regulate terms like ‘boobies’ even when the message comments on a social or political issue, schools could eliminate all student speech touching on sex.”[17] Eliminating such speech should not be a school’s mission. Instead, the court stated, schools should “mold students into citizens capable of engaging in civil discourse [which] includes teaching students of sufficient age and maturity how to navigate debates touching on sex.”[18]

Unfortunately, the court did not broadly hold that school administrations must allow students to openly discuss political and social issues affecting their sexual organs—a holding that would have been a particularly positive development for girls who, studies have shown, struggle with body issues in their teens but suffer in silence due to the new sigma attached to their bodies as “vulgar” sexual objects.[19] Instead, the court carefully restricted its analysis to the term “boobies,” refusing to weigh in on the school’s dress code, which bans t-shirts promoting breast cancer awareness reading “Save the ta-tas” and testicular cancer awareness paraphernalia reading “,”[20] or to respond to the dissent’s fear that, under the court’s test, in the context of health advocacy, “‘I ♥ penises,’ ‘I ♥ vaginas,’ ‘I ♥ testicles,’ or ‘I ♥ breasts’ would apparently be phrases or slogans that school districts would be powerless to address.”[21] (It is unclear what terms the dissent wants students to use when promoting health awareness).  In fact, the court found that a school could “categorically restrict an ‘I ♥  tits!  (KEEP A BREAST)’ bracelet because … the word ‘tits’ (and also presumably the diminutive ‘titties’) is a patently offensive reference to sexual organs and thus obscene to minors.”[22]

Additionally, by referring to the bracelets as “touching on sex” the court failed to address the larger problem underlying the case: the over-sexualization of the breast, and the consequent labeling of common terms for breasts vulgar and obscene. As the Brief of Amici Curiae Dedicated to Gender Equality stated, “assuming that every use of the words ‘boobies’ and ‘breasts’ is lewd or vulgar” “relies on the belief that breasts are exclusively or primarily sexual, a notion that is rooted in male-centered conceptions of the female body.”[23] The school district’s ban “teach[es] middle school girls that sexualized breasts are the only acceptable kind,” which “affects whether they view themselves with a sense of self-worth.[24]” Telling young women that talking about their breasts is vulgar and forbidden also discourages young women from discussing breast cancer risks and performing breast checks. In fact, the Keep a Breast Foundation’s goal in creating the “I ♥ boobies!” bracelets was to remove the stigma from breasts in order to create a hospitable environment in which young women could feel comfortable learning about breast cancer risks and taking preventative steps.[25] The court supported young women’s right to talk about their breasts in certain contexts but failed to recognize that breasts are not exclusively or primarily sexual.

Numerous school districts around the country have banned the “I ♥ boobies!” bracelets, and a number of students have objected in court. In fact, a Wisconsin federal judge recently refused to overturn a ban on the bracelets at Sauk Prairie Middle School. Similar cases have reached court in Indiana, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania. Because the Third Circuit opinion involves a novel interpretation of precedent on an important First Amendment issue, it is possible that the issue will find its way to the Supreme Court in the near future. Easton officials have 90 days to decide whether to appeal to the Court and have not yet filed for certiorari.[26] Should the Court decide one of the “I ♥ boobies!” cases in the future, it should consider the Third Circuit opinion a helpful and appropriate way to interpret Tinker, Fraser, and Morse to provide young adults with the freedom to advocate on social issues involving health and sexuality. 

(Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr user Christ1254 pursuant to a Creative Commons license.)

[1] J.D., Harvard Law School, 2014.

[2] B.H. v. Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067, 2013 WL 3970093 at 5-6 (3rd Cir. Aug. 5, 2013).

[3] 393 U.S. 503 (1969).

[4] 478 U.S. 675 (1986).

[5] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 6.

[6] Id. at 11.

[7] Id. at 13-15.

[8] 393 U.S. at 513.

[9] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 5 (citing Fraser, 478 U.S. at 685).

[10] 551 U.S. 393 (2007).

[11] Id. at 397.

[12] Id. at 422 (Alito, J., concurring).

[13] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 51.

[14] Id. at 35.

[15] Id. at 58.

[16] Id. at 58-59.

[17] Id. at 55-56.

[18] Id. at 35.

[19] U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, Eating Disorders (last visited Sept. 8, 2013), available at

[20] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 71.

[21] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 3 (Greenaway, J., dissenting).

[22] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 57.

[23] Brief of Amici Curiae Dedicated to Gender Equality in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellees and Supporting Affirmance at 5, B.H. v. Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067, 2013 WL 3970093 at 5-6 (3rd Cir. Aug. 5, 2013).

[24] Id. at 9.

[25] Easton Area Sch. Dist., No. 11-2067 at 7.

[26] The Associated Press, Lift on ban of “I (heart) Boobies!” Bracelets in Pennsylvania schools (Aug. 6, 2013), available at boobies-bracelets-pennsylvania-schools-article-1.1418664#ixzz2dHWph2IO.

Women work at a garment factory in Savar

Gender and Garment Work: The Rana Plaza Disaster

Alysa Harder*

When Rana Plaza collapsed outside Dhaka on April 24 of this year, the building didn't discriminate; it simply crumbled, burying everyone inside and killing 1,129 in the world's deadliest industrial accident since Bhopal.

But 80% of Bangladesh's garment workers are women, and according to some estimates women made up over 80% of those killed or injured in the collapse that day.[1]

They are the most recent high-profile casualties of a race to the bottom in a ready-made garment industry which has long profited from women's disadvantage. In Bangladesh, a surplus of impoverished, illiterate, socially and economically oppressed women desperate for work fuels the country's export economy. Most of the women in the garment industry are rural migrants, and for most it’s their first job.[2] Factory owners have deliberately feminized the industry, preferring to hire women for their very low wage expectations, their willingness to work longer hours than their male counterparts, and the ease of dismissing them.[3]

The day before the collapse, workers were sent home as inspectors examined the cracks that had begun to appear in the building’s walls. The next day, they were told by management they had to come to work or forfeit a month’s wages.[4] Lacking the capability to resist management’s demands, they came. 

The precariousness of poor Bangladeshi women’s social and economic position is inextricably intertwined with the root causes of the Rana Plaza tragedy. Yet gender has not been a focus of the various efforts that governments, NGOs, and mostly Western brands have made over the past few months to address weak governance in Bangladesh’s garment sector.

These players have, however, highlighted the opportunities that the garment industry has afforded the country’s women.  US retailers who have signed on to the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which calls for independent inspections of all factories used by member retailers, as well as “safety and empowerment” training and a grievance hotline for workers,[5] acknowledge that “the Bangladesh garment industry (which employs millions of workers, roughly 80 percent of whom are women) provides invaluable economic opportunity in the country.”[6]

In their joint statement regarding the “Sustainability Compact for continuous improvements in labour rights and factory safety in the Ready Made Garment and knitwear industry,” under which the Government of Bangladesh commits to adopt amendments to Bangladesh’s labor law to improve freedom of expression and collective bargaining rights, to add hundreds of safety inspectors, and to educate and train workers on their rights as well as safety and health issues, representatives from the Government of Bangladesh and the European Union remark on “the positive impact of the RMG and knitwear sector in Bangladesh on the … empowerment of women.”[7]

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on labor issues in Bangladesh that I attended in early June, where witnesses discussed suspending Bangladeshi trade preferences under the Generalized System of Preferences[8], Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, stated in his testimony: “Bangladesh’s development gains have come in part because of the growth of its ready-made garment sector…a sector that employs between two and three million Bangladeshi women, helping to lift them out of poverty and empowering them socially and economically.”[9]

It’s true—working in garment factories gives many women regular income and a measure of personal autonomy and leverage within their households that agricultural or domestic work has rarely afforded them. But until now, abysmal working conditions have kept Bangladeshi women from benefiting from globalization in a paradigm-shifting or even sustainable way. When the garment industry’s most visible stakeholders emphasize how the industry benefits women, while neglecting to acknowledge the fact that their exclusion from the wider labor market contributes to the perpetuation of the types of conditions that lead to Rana Plaza, they obscure a critical part of the story. 

Private compliance and capacity-building initiatives like the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety have historically had very limited impact on labor standards worldwide;[10] companies have got to get the story straight if their efforts are to have a chance of effecting meaningful change.  And while the labor law amendments the Bangladeshi government has begun to implement, under pressure from the US and EU, may prevent another catastrophe on the scale of Rana Plaza, sustained progress will depend on coordinated initiatives that comprehend and account for the role that gender plays in Bangladesh’s ready made garment industry. 


* JD Candidate, 2014.



[1] Suvendrini Kakuchi, Female Garment Workers Bear Brunt of Tragedy, Inter Press Service News Agency (May 10, 2013) Exact figures on the gender breakdown have not been reported.


[2] Naila Kabeer and Simeen Mahmud, Rags, Riches and Women Workers: Export-oriented Garment Manufacturing in Bangladesh, in Chains of Fortune: Linking Women Producers and Workers with Global Markets 148 (Marilyn Carr, ed. 2004). 


[3] Shamsul Khan, Trade unions, gender issues and the ready-made garment industry of Bangladesh, in Women’s Employment in the Textile Manufacturing Sectors of Bangladesh and Morocco 180 (Carol Miller and Jessica Vivian, eds. 2002).


[4] Michelle Chen, Factory Collapse in Bangladesh Shows Cracks in the System, Huffington Post (Apr. 28, 2013, 11:08 A.M.)


[5] Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety,, last visited Sep. 9, 2013.


[6] Statement of Purpose by Leaders of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety,, last visited Sep. 9, 2013.


[7] Joint Statement, European Commission, (last visited Sep. 9 2013).


[8]“The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 5,000 products when imported from one of 127 designated beneficiary countries and territories.” Office of the United States Trade Representative, Generalized System of Preferences, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (last visited Sep. 9, 2013).


[9] Robert Blake, Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Labor Issues in Bangladesh June 6, 2013 


[10] See generally Richard M. Locke, The Promise and Limits of Private Power: Promoting Labor Standards in a Global Economy, Cambridge University Press 2013.  The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, another agreement that many European brands have signed on to, may prove more successful than most, due to its legally binding nature and union involvement.  


navy image

Rape Victims Suffer due to Lack of Protections in Article 32 Hearings

Christina Gilligan*                                  

“Were you wearing a bra?”

“Were you wearing underwear?”

“Did you feel like a ho the next day?”

“How wide do you open your mouth during oral sex?”

The above list of questions reads like an example a professor of evidence might provide her students of inquiries disallowed by the Federal Rules of Evidence since 1978.[1] However, defense attorneys asked the above questions to an alleged sexual assault victim just two weeks ago, subjecting the twenty-one-year old woman to more than 24 hours of draining questioning over 5 days.[2]

This young woman, a Naval Academy midshipman, is just one of the estimated 26,000 members of the U.S. Military who experienced “unwanted sexual conduct” in 2012.[3] Her story and the legal framework that forced her to answer the inappropriate, embarrassing, and – ultimately – irrelevant questions above highlight the dire need for change in the U.S. Military’s treatment of sexual assault victims. Those instituted by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month are not nearly sufficient.[4] This blog post seeks to explore that legal framework and the space it leaves open for defense attorneys to engage in bullying and victim-blaming during Article 32 hearings.

The Background

According to her testimony, the female midshipman attended a Toga and Yoga Party at an off-campus location referred to as the Naval Football House on April 14, 2012.[5] She drank heavily and remembered little of what happened that night.[6] Over the next few days, the then-twenty-year old woman encountered rumors and posts on social media sites that led her to believe that she had been sexually assaulted by three of her classmates.[7] However, out of fear, she was initially reluctant to make any sort of formal report and did not “want the case to go anywhere.”[8]

This reluctance to report the occurrence of a sexual assault is common among victims in the armed services. Through anonymous surveys and sampling research, the Pentagon estimated that about 26,000 personnel in the U.S. Military experienced “unwanted sexual conduct” in 2012, up nearly thirty-five percent from 2010.[9] Yet, the reporting rates of such crimes in the military are startlingly low – just 3,374 sexual assaults were formally reported in 2012.[10] Victims who report sexual assaults not only risk retaliation from the accused or their superiors and isolation from their peers, but also are unlikely to see results – fewer than one in ten sexual assault cases in the military results in sexual assault conviction.[11]

The prevalence of sexual violence in the military has recently garnered much media attention and has been addressed by national leaders, including President Obama and members of Congress.[12] Still, only four months after President Obama informed Naval Academy students that “those who commit sexual assault . . . threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong,” the midshipman above experienced firsthand the military legal system’s lack of regard for the dignity and protection of victims.[13]

The Legal Framework

As members of the armed forces, the defendants in this case – if they are tried – will be tried under military law in a military court, or a court-martial. Courts-martial are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ),[14] an act passed by Congress, and the Manual for Court-Martial (MCM), an executive order that details and expands on the laws in the UCMJ. The MCM also provides discussion on the Military Rules of Evidence.[15] The Military Rules of Evidence include Rule 412, the military counterpart to the federal rape shield rule barring evidence of the victim’s past sexual experiences and sexual predisposition.[16]

Under the UCMJ, once a military member has been accused of a crime or has a charged levied against him, he has a right to a “thorough and impartial investigation of all the matters” set forth in the charges prior to appearing before a court-martial.[17] This investigation must include an “inquiry as to the truth of the matter set forth in the charges, consideration of the form of charges, and recommendation as to the disposition which should be made of the case in the interest of justice and discipline.”[18]

Further, under the MCM, the majority of the Military Rules of Evidence do not hold in the investigative proceedings – although Rule 412 still applies to Article 32 hearings, at least in theory.[19] However, the relaxation of the other evidence rules and procedural safeguards during the hearings, coupled with the MCM’s guidance that “the defense shall be given wide latitude in cross-examining witnesses,” [20] often leads to the virtual abandonment of the protections of Rule 412 in practice, as described in the case above.

As noted by Melinda Henneberger and Annys Shin, Article 32 hearings are often compared to grand jury proceedings, as the purpose of an Article 32 hearing is to determine whether the trial or court martial is warranted. However, unlike grand juries, Article 32 hearings take place in public and include defense attorneys – who, under the looser procedural rules of pre-court martial investigation, may subject the victim to scathing and open-ended cross examinations.[21] Furthermore, as demonstrated by the experiences of the midshipman victim above, questions often are asked during Article 32 hearings that no civilian court in any state in the country would allow.[22] In fact, a practice guide for attorneys defending military members accused of sexual assault advises using the Article 32 hearing as an opportunity for a “prudent practitioner . . . to explore any potential MRE 412 evidence and build a foundation for success at an MRE 412 hearing, or on cross-examination at trial.”[23]

The Conclusion

Thus, the structure of Article 32 hearings allows for defense counsel and other officials to play fast and loose with important procedural and evidentiary protections, rendering victims even more vulnerable and totally undermining the purpose of Rule 412. As Robert Canaff, a former prosecutor who has worked with the military on improving its sexual assault procedures, noted Article 32 proceedings are so difficult for victims of sexual assault that “a lot of cases die there as a result.”[24] In a context where sexual assault is so wildly unreported, the neglect of these cases and the harsh treatment of the victims cannot be sustained.

In May, President Obama stated, “For those who are in uniform who’ve experienced sexual assault, I want them to hear directly from their commander in chief that I’ve got their backs.” The MCM – which explicitly advises the broad cross-examination of victims in Article 32 hearings – is an executive order. Thus, the time has come for President Obama to honor his commitment to sexual assault victims and tighten the safeguards for Article 32 hearings.



* JD Candidate, 2014.

[1] Fed. R. Evid. 412. Rule 412 rendered inadmissible, subject to some exceptions, (1) evidence offered to prove that any alleged victim engaged in other sexual behavior, and (2) evidence offered to prove any alleged victim’s sexual predisposition, subject to several exceptions. Today, nearly all jurisdictions in the United States contain similar rape shield provisions.


[2] Ruth Marcus, In Navy rape case, defense lawyers go wild, Wash. Post (Sept. 5, 2013),


[3] Craig Whitlock, Obama delivers blunt message on sexual assaults in military, Wash. Post (May 7, 2013),


[4] Secretary Hagel has “directed each branch of the military to create a legal advocacy program for victims, standardized prohibitions on inappropriate relations between recruiters and recruits, ensured that pretrial hearings are conducted by military lawyers and provided commanders with the option to reassign or transfer the accused.” However, Secretary Hagel has not called for reforms to move the prosecution of sexual assault outside of the chain of command. Nation Action & Sarah Arnold, Despite Changes, Advocates for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military Continue to Fight for Reform, The Nation (Aug. 16, 2013), Further, neither Secretary Hagel nor Congress has instituted any major effort to directly reform the protections for sexual assault victims during Article 32 hearings. Melinda Henneberger & Annys Shin, Military’s handling of sex assault cases on trial at Naval Academy rape hearing, Wash. Post (Aug.31, 2013),


[5] Ali Weinberg, Woman at center of alleged Naval Academy gang rape testifies for first time, NBC  News (Aug. 28, 2013),


[6] Id.


[7] Annys Shin, Hearing in Naval Academy rape case concludes, Wash. Post (Sept. 3, 2013),


[8] Id.


[9] Craig Whitlock, Obama delivers blunt message on sexual assaults in military, Wash. Post (May 7, 2013),


[10] Id. With respect to the low rate of reporting, Senator Claire McCaskill has said, “That is the crux of the problem here, because if a victim does not believe that the system is capable of believing her, there’s no point in risking your entire career.” Id.


[11] Id.


[12] Id.


[13] Valerie Strauss, Text: Obama’s speech at U.S. Naval Academy graduation, Wash. Post (May 24, 2013),


[14] Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. §§ 801 – 946.


[15] Manual for Courts-Martial (2012 Edition).


[16] Mil. R. Evid. 412.


[17] Art. 32, Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 832.


[18] Id.


[19] Rule 405, Manual for Courts-Martial (2012 Edition).


[20] Id.


[21] Ruth Marcus, In Navy rape case, defense lawyers go wild, Wash. Post (Sept. 5, 2013),; Melinda Henneberger and Annys Shin, Military’s handling of sex assault cases on trial at Naval Academy rape hearing, Wash. Post (Aug.31, 2013),


[22] Melinda Henneberger and Annys Shin, Military’s handling of sex assault cases on trial at Naval Academy rape hearing, Wash. Post (Aug.31, 2013),


[23] Kevin Smith, Navigating the Rape Shield Maze: An Advocate’s Guide to MRE 412 (2000), available at$FILE/Article%201.pdf.


[24] Melinda Henneberger and Annys Shin, Military’s handling of sex assault cases on trial at Naval Academy rape hearing, Wash. Post (Aug.31, 2013),



A Response to Laurie Shrage’s “Is Forced Fatherhood Fair?”

By Jean Strout

On June 12, 2013, feminist scholar Laurie Shrage published an opinion piece in the New York Times decrying “forced fatherhood” as an injustice.[1] In her piece, Shrage supports child support reform, which would excuse from child support obligations “a naïve man who, in a moment of exuberance with a girlfriend, allows his name to be put on a birth certificate, and a man whose only tie to a child is biological.”[2] Shrage’s suggestion smacks of “financial abortion,” which men’s rights advocates have long championed: the man is freed from financial responsibility if the woman refuses to abort the fetus.[3]

Shrage constructs child support as a “punishment” aimed at controlling men’s sexual behavior.[4] This view neglects the most important motivator of compulsory child support: the best interests of the child. Shrage also fails to address alternatives to child support: if biological fathers don’t pay, who will?

Compulsory child support does not need to be viewed as a punishment for men, or as a construction of fathers as nothing but financial providers. Shrage argues that while women have the option to abort a fetus, men have no control over whether the child is born, and are saddled with responsibilities if it is. Leaving aside the practical and moral obstacles to abortion for many women, the different reproductive rights of men and women result from the differential physical consequences of pregnancy and birth:

It is not necessarily a sign of anti-male bias, as men’s advocates contend, that a man’s ability to control his income and his labor isn’t accorded the same respect as a woman’s ability to control her body. In our culture, bodily autonomy is seen as a more fundamental value than property; that’s why chopping off an offender’s finger seems to us far more barbaric than stiff financial penalties or even forced labor.[5]

Under this framework, it makes sense that a woman cannot be compelled to surrender her body to gestating a fetus, while a man can be compelled to financially contribute to his child once it has been born. The fact that women can decide whether to abort or not, and thus have control over whether they become parents, is the result of a biological reality. People get to have more control over what happens in their bodies than what happens to their wallets.

That doesn’t mean that compulsory child support is fair. As Shrage rightly argues, the characterizations of men who seek to terminate child support obligations for unwanted children as selfish, irresponsible, or even evil should be challenged. As Cathy Young points out:

 If men who want a right to be released from their parental obligations seem callously egocentric to many people, that’s how women who want abortion on demand look to many anti-abortion advocates. It should make us ponder the fact that, while paternal desertion is often cited as evidence of male irresponsibility and selfishness, more than a million American women every year walk away from the burdens of motherhood.[6]

Child support may seem unfair in some circumstances, but it is not a punishment; it is a way to protect innocent children from being punished for being conceived by a parent who didn’t want them. Children are indisputably expensive, and many expenses are directly related to the child’s well being, such as safe housing, medical care, and nutritious food. The child’s right to thrive should trump the parent’ interest in avoiding the financial burden; courts should not “subordinate the constitutional rights . . . of the child to those of one of the parents.”[7] It is true that the best interests argument makes less sense at economic extremes. In Massachusetts, for example, the minimum child support payment for one child is $20 a week.[8] The $20 a week minimum applies even if the custodial parent (usually the mother) has no other source of income. Nobody would argue that $20 a week is enough to support a child, so mandatory child support is clearly not sufficient to ensure the child’s well-being. The best interests argument also makes less sense when the custodial parent has a more than adequate income, or when the non-custodial parent (usually the father) must pay a certain percentage of their income even though much less would suffice to properly take care of the child. In the context of higher-income parents, maintaining proportional child support obligations can be explained in two ways: punitive treatment of fathers (making them feel the loss of income) or a sense that the child morally deserves more money because his genetic father has more money.[9]

The best interests argument gains strength when the child’s well being is considered more holistically. For instance, in 1982 the New York District Court rejected a father’s argument of reproductive fraud[10] as a defense to payment of child support.[11] The New York District Court rested its decision on consideration of the psychological, as well as financial, well-being of the child: allowing fraud as a defense to child support demands “would create a new and inferior category of an out-of-wedlock child based upon the circumstances of conception and would subordinate the constitutional rights and other interests of the child to those of one of the parents.”[12] This category of child would be acutely aware that the biological father did not want them to be conceived, and would be at a financial disadvantage compared to ‘wanted’ children; the same concerns apply to a financial abortion option. Shrage mentions the interests of the child in relation to the challenges of “manag[ing] a lifelong relationship with an absent but legal father.”[13] However, she doesn’t acknowledge the psychological toll of having legal proof that your biological father never wanted you.

Nor does Shrage explain how children’s needs will be paid for, if not by the men who helped bring them into the world. She vaguely suggests that “the government has other options, such as mandatory sex education, family planning counseling, or community service.” These programs are laudable (although I am unsure of the meaning of “community service” in this context), but they are not mutually exclusive with compulsory child support. They also do nothing to provide relief for a child that has already been brought into this world.

If we accept as a society that children need to be adequately cared for, we must also accept that someone must pay. If the custodial parent can’t do it, the burden must necessarily fall on the other parent or on the state. Just as there are objections to forcing a father to pay for child he wanted, there are practical and normative problems with asking the state to pay. It can be seen as a moral wrong, in that biological fathers are able to escape obligations to children they helped bring into the world. It increases the burden on taxpayers, who must pay for the abdication of parental responsibility.[14] This appears especially egregious in cases where the biological fathers can easily afford to pay support. State provision of child support also opens the door to government policing of women’s lives and finances.

Most importantly, the ‘welfare state’ and programs providing support for families are persistently politically controversial and underfunded; it is probably politically impossible to pass the full burden of child support onto the state in the near future. Consequently, as a practical matter, the father may be the only source of support available. If Shrage wants to free fathers from the burdens of accidental pregnancy, she needs to offer an alternative to poverty.

Finally, Shrage skirts the practical question of how to tell when a pregnancy is “accidental,” rendering the father eligible to avoid paying child support. What if, as is probably most often the case, the man and woman never discussed what would happen if pregnancy resulted? It is unclear whether the legal line would be drawn at reproductive fraud (however defined), or whether lack of or failed contraceptive use would be enough to make a pregnancy ‘accidental.’ Determining the circumstances of conception would require a complex investigation encompassing the pair’s sexual and romantic history, and would likely devolve into a he-said/she-said dispute about promises, commitments and ejaculations.

Male disempowerment in the area of abortion, combined with legal support obligations and negative stereotypes of fathers, has sparked violently outspoken responses from ‘men’s rights’ and ‘father’s rights’ advocates, many of whom have extreme views about the extent to which men should be able to control women’s bodies and avoid responsibility for their genetic children.[15] There are valid concerns underlying the vitriol, and the goals of those who wish to challenge gendered stereotypes about parenting will be furthered if we can look past the extremists and understand the plight of men who are “forced” into fatherhood. However, we need to think carefully about whose rights we are privileging. Shrage constructs the problem as two-sided: women have more rights, men have fewer. But she forgets the children.



[1] Laurie Shrage, Opinion, Is Forced Fatherhood Fair, N.Y. Times, (June 12, 2013, 9:00 AM),

[2] Id.

[3] Kim Shayo Buchanan, Lawrence v. Geduldig: Regulating Women’s Sexuality, 56 Emory L.J. 1235, 1244 (2007).

[4] Shrage, supra note 1.

[5] Cathy Young, A Man’s Right to Choose, (Oct. 19, 2000, 12:47 PM),; see also Hendricks, supra note 15, at 367 (“An obligation to pay for the support of a child is entirely different in nature from either the physical imposition of compulsory pregnancy or the relational imposition of compulsory parenting.”).

[6] Id.

[7] Inez M. v. Nathan G., 451 N.Y.S.2d 607, 609 (1982).

[8] Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines Worksheet; M.G.L. c. 208 § 28 (2012).

[9] See, e.g., Pamela P. v. Frank S., 443 N.Y.S.2d 343, 348 (N.Y. Fam. Ct. 1983) (“The child is entitled in this court's opinion to no less a standard of living than his father's, because it indicates the likely level that the child would enjoy if he had been born into the still-prevalent circumstance of an intact family or a father willingly sharing his custody and care.”).

[10] Advocates of a reproductive fraud defense would include within its definition pregnancies that result from false claims of birth control use and pregnancies initiated using sperm that the parties explicitly or implicitly agreed would be disposed of. Myrisha S. Lewis, Sex and Statutory Uniformity: Harmonizing the Legal Treatment of Semen, 7 Charleston L. Rev. 235, 267 (2012). Reproductive fraud is also referred to as contraceptive fraud and birth control fraud. Id. In Inez v. Nathan G., the father argued that the failure to terminate a pregnancy as promised consisted reproductive fraud. 451 N.Y.S.2d at 609.

[11] See Inez M. v. Nathan G., 451 N.Y.S.2d. at 609.

[12] Id.

[13] Shrage, supra note 1.

[14] See Linda C. McClain, “Irresponsible” Reproduction, 47 Hastings L.J. 339, 423–424 (1996) (“Contemporary feminists identify male irresponsibility as a cause of unwanted pregnancy, abortion, single motherhood, family poverty, and family violence, often critiquing the ways that law permits or perpetuates such irresponsibility.”).

[15] [15] See, e.g., Dalton Conley, A Man's Right to Choose, N.Y. Times, Dec. 1, 2005, at A33.


“I’m Only Gonna Tell You This One More Time:” Lessons from Ann Scales

Jean Strout*

When Ann Scales passed away on June 24, 2012, the world lost a great feminist and a great lawyer.  One of her legacies is that the two need not be mutually exclusive.

 * * *

I never met Ann Scales.  I first heard about her passing from my mother, who was a year ahead of Ann at Wellesley College.  But when I learned that Ann had helped found this journal thirty-five years ago, I knew we had to honor her.

It is overwhelming to try to capture the life of a brilliant and well-loved advocate, professor and friend in just a few pages.  In the past few weeks, I have pored over nearly everything Ann has published and talked to many people who were close to her professionally and personally.  Ann was a great critic of objectivity and a strong believer in finding a place for every voice.  For that reason, I think she wouldn’t mind that her story is filtered through my experience of getting to know her this way.

Perhaps the best way to get to know Ann is through her writing.  Ann’s scholarship is accessible in a way few legal theorists can claim—or would even want to in an academic world obsessed with exclusivity.  She teasingly referred to the term she coined, “feminist jurisprudence,” as “high-faluting.”[1]  Each piece rings with Ann’s voice; she seems to be speaking directly to you, even responding to your questions.  Ann’s clear, clever prose is one way she subverted legal norms; she set out to both rewrite and translate the code of the legal ivory tower.

She had the same gift as a professor.  Ann taught at law schools across the country, most recently at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, and previously at the University of New Mexico School of Law for eighteen years.  She explored exuberant, inclusive, interactive pedagogies foreign to the law school curriculum.[2]  “Ann invested—or rather, regaled us all with—her undivided presence,” said her former student and colleague at the University of New Mexico, Adriana Ramírez de Arellano.[3]  “In every word, every lecture, every course, Ann gave every inch of herself—some would say to a fault; I would say masterfully so.”[4]  Jane Caputi, who taught in UNM’s American Studies department and collaborated with Ann on several projects, described her as “a consummate teacher—knowledgeable, prepared, brilliant, witty, and capable of inspiring lifelong passion for justice.”[5]

For Ann, feminist theory and feminist practice were inextricable.  This is reflected in her scholarship, and in the way she lived her life.  Throughout her career as a professor and scholar, Ann also represented clients pro bono.  She was proud not to have taken a paying client since 1980.[6]  Ann was involved in several groundbreaking feminist cases: New Mexico Right to Choose NARAL v. Johnson was the first time a state Supreme Court upheld public spending on abortion.[7]  In R. v. Butler, Canada’s Supreme Court redefined obscenity based on a standard of the harm it inflicts, particularly on women.[8]  Ann worked on the University of Colorado football gang rape case,[9] and represented feminists who succeeded in bringing the first women’s marathon to the 1984 Olympics.[10]

The fact that Ann’s work is accessible does not mean that it is simple.  On the contrary, her scholarship engages with current political ideology, twentieth century legal movements, and millennia of Western philosophy.  Inspired by Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, Ann wrote about difficult, abstract legal and social concepts.  As they did, Ann brought them out of the ether and grounded them in real, human experience.

And not just female experience.  For Ann, feminist jurisprudence was much more than a vehicle for gender equality.  It was part of a larger mission to transform law and society to create room and respect for every kind of difference.  She set out to redesign “the allegedly anonymous picture of humanity,” which she described as “a picture males have painted of themselves.”[11]  Ann didn’t want to repaint the picture alone—she believed in multiplicity, collaboration, solidarity.  She was a champion for other writers and causes working towards social justice, even when she disagreed with them.  “Taking a stand and saying what you really see is a tough assignment,” she wrote.[12]  “When anyone committed to liberation does that, love her for it. . . If we can’t agree, or I’m being obstinate, go ahead and call me a bitch, then give me a hug and let’s make plans to collaborate in the future.”[13]

Ann didn’t believe that changing individual laws or winning individual cases alone is a real solution to subjugation.  She strove to disrupt typical thinking about law, and to disturb well-settled dichotomies.[14]  Her writings trounce the traditional reverence for law over policy, liberty over equality, and, of course, male over female.  “She was

the first person I ever  heard talk about thinking about the law in an entirely different way based on the fact that it was not at all neutral, not at all conscious of the inequalities it perpetrated,” said her longtime friend and HLS classmate Sheila Kuehl.[15]  Ann revealed many ways in which our legal system is neither objective nor inevitable.  Who is protected by an extremely high standard of causation in toxic tort cases?[16]  In legal education, why is family law considered a ‘soft’ discipline, while transactional law is ‘hard’?[17]  Why are attempts to remedy inequality, like affirmative action, opposed under a Constitution promising equality?[18]  How could the Supreme Court find that discrimination based on pregnancy is not sex discrimination under the equal protection clause?[19]  Rather than accepting law as inherently legitimate, Ann argued that it can be improved through constant questioning of both underlying theory and practical motivations:[20]  “Feminism brings law back to its purpose—to decide the moral crux of the matter in real human situations.”[21]

Ann knew that the law could change—could do better.  She was a member of the committee of students who put together “Celebration 25,” a party and conference held in 1978 “to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the graduation of the first women from Harvard Law School.”[22]  The commemorative booklet accompanying the celebration eventually became the Harvard Women’s Law Journal, and later the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.[23]

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had recently won several gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court based on the Equal Protection Clause, was chosen as the keynote speaker.[24]  “Scales, bless her heart, asked Professor Ginsburg whether the version of equality she had crafted in her arguments before the courts was really the best we could do,” wrote Kuehl, a fellow member of the “Celebration 25” committee.[25]  “Professor Ginsburg astonished us with her answer:  ‘That,’ she said, ‘is entirely up to you.’”[26]

Ann took up the challenge.  Much of her writing is dedicated to encouraging future lawyers to do the same.  For all of her critiques, she had tremendous faith in lawyers:  We are women and men drawn to the living of life, people with a native taste for survival, for diversity, and for freedom.”[27]  She believed the current legal system is designed to make lawyers “check their souls at the door,”[28] and urged us to fight back.

Ann Scales had many more facets than I can explore.  She was part Cherokee.  She spent her youth riding in rodeos.  She was a breast cancer survivor.  By all accounts, she was funny as hell; “irreverent” was the first word that came to mind for many of those I spoke to about her.  As someone who never had the pleasure of knowing her in life, the best way I can think of to honor Ann’s memory is to follow her advice—to fight back against those forces that, intentionally or not, try to maintain the longstanding systems of oppression.

Luckily for us, Ann left some instructions behind:  Have fun.  Raise hell. Question everything.  Celebrate difference.  Support one another.  Believe in change, and in the possibilities that feminism has to offer.

[1] Ann Scales, Law and Feminism: Together in Struggle, 51 U. Kan. L. Rev. 291, 292 (2003).

[2]  See Karl Johnson & Ann Scales, An Absolutely, Positively True Story: Seven Reasons Why We Sing, 16 N.M. L. Rev. 433 (1986) (discussing the use of song in a first year jurisprudence course).

[3] Email from Adriana Ramírez de Arellano to author (July 16, 2012 23:10 EST) (on file with author).

[4] Id.

[5] Email from Jane Caputi to author (July 16, 2012 8:59 EST) (on file with author).

[6] See Audrey Fannin, A Conversation with Ann Scales, Wake Forest Experiences (Oct. 12, 2010)

[7] New Mexico Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson, 986 P.2d 450 (N. M. 1999).

[8] R. v. Butler, [1992] 1. S.CR. 452 (Can.); See Ann Scales, Avoiding Constitutional Depression: Bad Attitudes and the Fate of Butler, 7 Can. J. Women & L. 349, 358 (1994).

[9] See Simpson v. Univ. of Colo. Boulder, 500 F.3d 1170 (10th Cir. 2007).  In 2001, female students were sexually assaulted by University of Colorado football players and high school recruits.  Two of the women sued the University under Title IX.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the university; however, this decision was reversed and remanded by the Tenth Circuit.  In 2007, the University of Colorado settled with the plaintiffs for almost three million dollars.  See Ann Scales, Student Gladiators and Sexual Assault: A New Analysis of Liability for Injuries Inflicted by College Athletes, 15 Mich. J. Gender & L. 205, 212–216 (2009).

[10] See Fannin, supra note 7.

[11] Ann Scales, The Emergence of Feminist Jurisprudence: An Essay, 95 Yale L.J. 1373, 1378 (1986).

[12] Ann Scales, Surviving Legal De-Education: An Outsider’s Guide, 15 Vt. L. Rev. 139, 161–62 (1990).

[13] Id.

[14] See, e.g., Ann Scales, Feminist Legal Method: Not So Scary, 2 UCLA Women’s L.J. 1, 19–20 (1992) (discussing the prevalence of binary logic and false dichotomies in legal thinking).

[15] Email from Sheila Kuehl to author (July 22, 2012 12:07 EST) (on file with author).

[16] See Ann Scales, Nobody Broke It, It Just Broke: Causation as an Instrument of Obfuscation and Oppression, in Fault Lines: Tort as Cultural Practice 269, 273 (David M. Engel, Jaruwan Engel, Michael McCann eds., 2009).

[17] See Scales, Surviving Legal De-Education, supra note 13, at 157.

[18] See Ann Scales, Legal Feminism: Activism, Lawyering and Legal Theory 56 (2006).

[19] See Ann Scales, Towards a Feminist Jurisprudence, 56 Ind. L.J. 375, 434 (1981).

[20] See, e.g., Ann Scales, Militarism, Male Dominance, and the Law, 12 Harv. Women’s L.J. 25, 57 (1989) (“The law, rather than asserting its authority for its own sake, rather than perceiving the enterprise as a contest between it and the citizen, needs to earn its authority in its day to day operations.”).

[21] Scales, The Emergence of Feminist Jurisprudence, supra note 12, at 1387.

[22] Sheila James Kuehl, For the Women’s Reach Should Exceed her Grasp, or How’s a Law Journal to be Born?, 20 Harv. Women’s L.J. 5, 5 (1997).

[23] Id. at 8.

[24] Id. at 9.

[25] Id. at 11.

[26] Id.

[27] Scales, Surviving Legal De-Education, supra note 13, at 264.

[28] Johnson & Scales, Seven Reasons Why We Sing, supra note 3, at 439.


VAWA Reauthorization—It’s More Than Politics

VAWA Reauthorization—It’s More Than Politics

Caitlin Pratt*

The keynote speaker at this year’s Harvard Journal of Law and Gender symposium, Transcending Barriers: Strategies for Change in Transgender Rights, was Professor Dean Spade. In the context of discussing his approach as a scholar and practitioner, which he calls critical trans politics, Professor Spade questioned what he calls the U.S. narrative that law change (law reform) is the answer for groups experiencing violence and marginalization.[1]

Professor Spade acknowledged the reality that changes are generally made incrementally but cautioned us to measure our incremental steps thoughtfully.[2] He offered examples of questions we can ask ourselves to help us determine whether a particular change is really a step forward or if it will actually move the law in the wrong direction.[3] They are:

  • Are we leaving anybody out? Are we dividing the constituency? Are we leaving out some of the most vulnerable people?
  • Will this provide actual relief? Or is it just window dressing to make the state or the system look better?
  • Will this build or expand harmful systems? Or will it help dismantle them?[4]

The recent debate in Congress over the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) brought the importance of this analysis into striking relief for me. Below, I will provide some background on VAWA and the debate over its reauthorization this year. I will then analyze the differences between the competing bills in terms of the questions set forth by Professor Spade.

What is VAWA?

President Bill Clinton signed the original Violence Against Women Act[5] on September 13, 1994.[6] VAWA was the first federal legislation that acknowledged domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes.[7] It also included a provision giving victims the right to sue their attackers in federal court, but this was struck down by the Supreme Court in United States v. Morrison.[8] In addition, the law provided federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to violence.[9]

Congress has reauthorized VAWA twice—in 2000 and 2005.[10] The reauthorization in 2000 improved the foundation established by the 1994 legislation by creating a victim legal assistance program and by expanding the definition of crime to include dating violence and stalking.[11] The 2005 reauthorization created new programs to meet the emerging needs of communities working to end violence.[12]

VAWA expired in 2011,[13] and Congress is currently debating its reauthorization. Both the House and Senate have passed reauthorization bills. The Senate version passed on April 26, 2012 by a vote of 68 to 31, with 15 Republicans in favor and no Democrats against.[14] The House version was introduced the next day and soon thereafter passed by a vote of 222-205.[15] The vote was largely along party lines with 6 Democrats voting in favor and 23 Republicans opposed.[16] The two bills are very different in ways essential to victims.

House v. Senate

The differences between the House and Senate bills to reauthorize VAWA are not just political—they have important policy implications.

The key differences between the bills have been highlighted by domestic violence advocacy groups[17] and break down neatly in terms of the questions offered by Professor Spade:

  • Are we leaving anybody out? Are we dividing the constituency? Are we leaving out some of the most vulnerable people?
    • The House bill excludes victims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ).[18]
    • The House bill fails to protect Native American women by limiting access to justice on tribal lands.[19]
    • The House bill makes immigrant victims of domestic violence less safe. It makes the immigration process longer and allows abusers to participate in it.[20] It also limits the U-visa program, which encourages and protects non-citizen victims who work with law enforcement to bring abusers to justice.[21]
    • The House bill undermines VAWA housing protections.[22] It fails to require housing providers to adopt certain emergency housing plans and notify victims of their rights at critical housing junctures (for example, at eviction).[23]
  • Will this provide actual relief? Or is it just window dressing to make the state or the system look better?
    • The House bill imposes large mandatory minimum sentences on abusers.[24] This is a “solution in search of a problem,” which can actually hurt victims by discouraging them from reporting abuse.[25]
    • The House bill includes additional auditing requirements that divert money from victim services to bureaucracy even though there is strong evidence that grants are currently being used effectively.[26]


I see the current VAWA debate as case-in-point for Professor Spade’s argument that some “incremental change” actually moves the law backward and for his cautioning that we must be thoughtful when engaging in law reform.

I cannot be sure whether Professor Spade would unqualifiedly support the Senate bill to reauthorize VAWA despite its many advantages over the House bill. I imagine he would be concerned, for example, by the immigration provisions, which could be seen as reinforcing harmful systems (immigration) by creating exceptions to bad rules (immigration prohibitions) rather than getting rid of them. By contrast, I am absolutely certain that Professor Spade would oppose the House bill.

The Republican bill is not just a smaller step forward than the Senate bill. It is a giant step backward—for the law, for victims of domestic violence, and for our society. The House bill does not just happen to meet each of the qualifications laid out by Professor Spade, it is the reason he is concerned.

This bill is part of a divide and conquer strategy. Rather than protect all victims of domestic violence, it separates victims into two groups: those who are worthy of protection and those who are not. And those who are not are the most vulnerable. It aims to separate those who are used to being separate—historically marginalized groups such as LGBTQ, immigrants, and Native Americans.

Victims of domestic violence will have their strongest voice together. Those who seek to divide them want to weaken their voice and thereby make them easier to ignore. Being ignored is not good for victims. The House bill is not good for victims.

Cite as: Cite as: Pratt, Caitlin, VAWA Reathorization–It’s More Than Politics, HARV. J.L. & GENDER ONLINE BLOG, (July 11, 2012)

* J.D. Candidate, Harvard Law School, Class of 2014. MPP Candidate, Harvard Kennedy School, Class of 2014.

[1] Dean Spade, Assistant Professor, Seattle Univ. Sch. of Law, Keynote Address at the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender Symposium: Transcending Barriers: Strategies for Change in Transgender Rights (Mar. 30, 2012), available at

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Violence Against Women Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-322, § 40001 (1994) (prior to 2000 amendment).

[6] Violence Against Women Act, National Network to End Domestic Violence, (last visited July 1, 2012) [hereinafter NNEDV].

[7] Id.

[8] 529 U.S. 598 (2000).

[9] NNEDV, supra note 6.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

[13] Id.

[14] Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1925),, (last visited July 1, 2012).

[15] Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 4970),, (last visited July 1, 2012).

[16] Id.

[17] For more information and more comprehensive summaries, see, e.g., Ann Garcia, Crosby Burns, and Lindsay Rosenthal, The Top 10 Ways the House Version of the Violence Against Women Act Neglects Domestic Violence Victims, Center for American Progress (May 18, 2012),; FACT SHEET: NTF opposition to HR 4970, National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, (last visited July 2, 2012);

[18] FACT SHEET: NTF opposition to HR 4970, supra note 17.

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] FACT SHEET: NTF opposition to HR 4970, supra note 17.

[25] Id.

[26] Id.