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The House Just Passed Protections for Trans Prisoners

House of Representatives votes to reauthorize amended Violence Against Women Act with new protections for transgender women in prisons.

Despite heavy Republican opposition, the House of Representatives voted to reauthorize an amended version of the Violence Against Women Act that would protect trans women should it become law.

The House voted to pass the reauthorization on Thursday, CNN reports, with a vote of 263 to 158. Every Democrat who voted, voted for the reauthorization. Only 33 Republicans did the same.

Republicans took issue with two key amendments of the new version of VAWA, first signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994: provisions that would ban people convicted of certain misdemeanor charges from buying guns for life, and provisions that would allow incarcerated trans people to be housed in prison facilities according to their gender identity rather than their sex assigned at birth on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s worthwhile to codify into law as part of an effort to lay out how we’re going to protect women’s safety in prisons,” Harper Jean Tobin, the Policy Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality, told ThinkProgress.

Representatives Debbie Lasko and Louie Gohmert also tried to strip VAWA of existing protections for trans people, like those that would let trans women access domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers funded by the legislation.

This amended version of VAWA will now go to the Senate, where it already faces steep opposition, ThinkProgress notes. Should it clear the Senate, it will also need to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, who has been no friend to trans women while in office.

RELATED | GOP Tries to Strip Trans Protections from Law, Fails Miserably

Tags: News, congress

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