Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC) introduced a bill on Thursday that would require abortion providers to file a report with the National Human Trafficking Hotline within 24 hours if they have a reasonable suspicion that a woman is a victim of human trafficking.
The bill, entitled the “Stopping Traffickers and Their Accomplices Act,” would mandate that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) then submit the report to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and local law enforcement. The legislation would also require abortion providers to participate in annual training to recognize the signs of trafficking and to certify they have taken steps to assist women who are being trafficked.
The legislation cites research showing that 71 percent of trafficked women indicated they had at least one pregnancy while they were trafficked, and nearly a third indicated they received multiple abortions. More than half of those women indicated the abortions were the result of coercion. The bill also cited the State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report, which found that sex traffickers coerce women into receiving abortions against their will.
“Human trafficking is a horrific crime that must be confronted and eradicated. Given the nature of how abortion clinics operate, it is necessary to provide needed accountability to ensure they are not aiding and abetting the abuse of women enslaved in the sex trade,” Budd said in a statement.
Budd’s bill contains penalties for abortion providers who fail to report suspected cases of human trafficking, as well as penalties for abortion providers who do not undergo mandatory training. For failing to report a case of suspected human trafficking, an abortion provider could be fined $10,000 for each violation, imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Additionally, an abortion provider who fails to undergo training could be fined $1,000 for each day of noncompliance, according to the bill.
The legislation would also allow state attorneys general to bring civil action on behalf of the residents of their states if an abortion provider violates the law.
The bill has the support of several conservative and pro-life groups, including Concerned Women for America, Students for Life Action, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, and Heritage Action for America
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action, praised the bill, calling it a “great step toward preventing the abortion industry from profiting off of sex trafficking and ignoring the crimes they may be facilitating.”
“The corrupt partnership between human and sex traffickers with the abortion industry is well known, an ugly relationship that needs to be stopped to protect women caught in the crossfire. Abortion is an avenue for traffickers to continue their horrific abuse of women and girls,” Hawkins said in a statement. “The abortion industry must be held accountable for aiding and abetting traffickers, and any opposition to this humanitarian bill will show that abortion’s financial interests are being placed above the needs of women.”
Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, said the legislation could “help women out of the trafficking world.”
“Most Americans find it hard to believe that slavery still exists, yet an estimated 27.6 million worldwide are victims, with the majority being women and girls. It is no surprise that abortion facilities aid and abet traffickers by ending the life of their little one, only to be sent right back into forced sex labor,” Nance said in a statement.
“Studies show that it is common for women who are being trafficked… [to be] the victim of at least one forced abortion. Senator’s Budd’s legislation would ensure that abortion facilities report when they have reasonable suspicion that a woman is a victim of trafficking, among other vital procedural efforts to help women out of the trafficking world,” she continued.
The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rick Scott (R-FL), James Risch (R-ID), James Lankford (R-OK), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).
WATCH: DeSantis: Biden’s Border Crisis Means “More Human Trafficking, More Sex Trafficking, More Drug Trafficking”Office of Governor DeSantis
Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.