Senate Democrats filibustered a sex trafficking bill this week—one they put their full support behind the week before—when major abortion industry groups suddenly discovered the bill would cause taxpayer funding of abortion to be at risk.
S. 178, titled “The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,” provides for “services to victims of human trafficking and sets up a fund to cover the costs…” Supplemented by federal funds, the services are to be paid for primarily by a $5,000 “special penalty assessment for convicted sex offenders, human smugglers and human traffickers.”
The bill recognizes, as well, the production of child pornography as a form of human trafficking.
Additionally, the measure contains a Hyde Amendment, banning the federal funding of abortion, excluding for rape, incest, and life endangerment of the mother of the unborn child.
As Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist explains, while the measure drew 13 Democrats as co-sponsors, including Sens. Dick Durbin (IL), Chuck Schumer (NY), Barbara Boxer (CA), and Dianne Feinstein (CA), 10 of those same Democrats voted to filibuster the bill right after NARAL and Planned Parenthood realized the bill would cut off taxpayer funding to their industry of performing abortions.
Only Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) voted with Republicans to end debate and proceed to vote on the bill.
“[A]s soon as they put out the War on Women APB, Democrats fell in line with alarming speed and devotion,” Hemingway wrote and added that Planned Parenthood had tweeted at least 60 times about the bill to raise opposition to it.
A 2010 Quinnipiac University poll found that 67 percent of those surveyed opposed allowing abortions to be paid for by public funds, with only 27 percent in support of it.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said, “In a stunning display of protecting abortion at all costs, the U.S. Senate failed to defend victims – women and little girls – of sex trafficking.”
“The abortion lobby and their allies in the Senate should be ashamed of themselves,” she continued. “How dare they call themselves ‘pro-woman’ when they epically failed to help sex trafficking victims because they would rather force taxpayers to fund abortion. The vote shows that – like Planned Parenthood – Senate Democrats are for ‘Abortion. No Matter What.’”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) offered a path forward for the legislation on Thursday, asking Democrats to work with Republicans to assist the victims of sex trafficking:
I’m determined to keep our focus on the victims of human trafficking: the people this would help rescue and help heal and get on with their lives.
I, for one, am more interested in getting to a solution than I am engaging in this partisan point scoring, and I believe there are a sufficient number of members of the United States Senate who are sick and tired of this dysfunction and who don’t want to be distracted by the politics but want to focus on how do we help those 100,000 victims of human sex trafficking that are estimated to exist on an annual basis.
As Newsmax reported, Cornyn’s plan involved requiring money for sex trafficking victims to be subject to the same restrictions as annual spending bills have on funding for abortion.
In response to the Democrats’s continued objections, Cornyn said a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch for Attorney General would be held up if Democrats continue to block the sex trafficking bill.
“It’s important for Sen. McConnell to hold to his commitment — no nomination vote on Loretta Lynch, and I might at some point suggest that we add other potential nominations to that list,” Cornyn told reporters.
However, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said, “We definitely don’t have a deal. I’m trying to work with some people on a proposal we think might work.”