Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) “this week resurrected a bill intended to battle child marriages overseas that didn’t make it through the House last Congress due to abortion and cost concerns,” The Hill reports.
The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act would require the federal government to develop an “integrated, strategic approach to reduce, and ultimately end, the practice of child marriage,” according to a release from Durbin’s office.
“Child marriage denies these women and girls of an education, economic independence and is the root cause of many of the world’s most pressing development issues – HIV/AIDS, child mortality, and abject poverty,” Durbin said in a statement. “This bill makes it the policy of the U.S. government to end child marriage around the globe.”
UNICEF estimates that 60 million girls in developing countries now ages 20 to 24 were married under the age of 18. The bill expresses the sense of Congress “that child marriage in developing countries undermines U.S. investments in foreign assistance” and requires the president to submit a report within 180 detailing the administration’s strategy for countering the practice. It also allows financial assistance for authorized programs.
It’s also co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Scott Brown (R-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).