Victims Again: Human Trafficking Bill Defeated By Abortion Advocates

Mary Harned Staff Counsel, Americans United for Life
Font Size:

Planned Parenthood’s lobbyists are making their rounds in Washington this week, discussing a bill that addresses the needs of victims of human trafficking. You might assume that they are advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 178, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. After all, it will help women, men and children who have experienced unimaginable trauma and are suffering today. But that would be mistaken.

Two particular passions drive Planned Parenthood to Capitol Hill — advocacy for unfettered access to abortion, and their unquenchable thirst for federal taxpayer funding. Planned Parenthood is actually lobbying against S. 178, because the bill incorporates longstanding federal policy limiting taxpayer funding for abortion. In other words, the bill focuses on the needs of victims without pushing taxpayer-funded abortion.

The “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act” incorporates the Hyde Amendment, thereby preventing federal funds authorized by the bill from being used for most abortions. However, taxpayer funding for abortion is permitted when a pregnancy results from rape or incest, or threatens a mother’s life. This is the same policy that is repeatedly applied — through the appropriations process, regulations, and executive orders — to other federal laws authorizing or appropriating funds.

Limiting taxpayer-funded abortions to the three exceptions is common legislative practice. This last point bears repeating — the abortion funding restriction in the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is entirely consistent with existing federal policy, policy that pro-choice Senators routinely support with their votes on other legislation, and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. McRae. Further, this bill boasts bipartisan sponsorship and was voted unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Astonishingly, however, Minority Leader Harry Reid is now leading 41 other Senate Democrats in opposition to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, simply because it incorporates the Hyde Amendment, standard operating procedure.  This development defies any explanation other than that they are caving to aggressive lobbying by Planned Parenthood — which scored against two votes to end debate on the bill on Tuesday — and other abortion advocacy groups.

Make no mistake; Planned Parenthood hates the Hyde Amendment — so much so that these supposed “champions of women” are opposing a bill that would help, among others, victims of sex trafficking. The abortion lobby is so committed to all abortions being paid for by taxpayer dollars, they would kill a bill that would in fact pay for abortion when a pregnancy results from rape or incest, or endangers the life of the mother. While Congress has annually renewed the Hyde Amendment for nearly four decades, abortion-rights advocates zealously and consistently advocate for its defeat alongside their vocal supporters on Capitol Hill.

The desires of the abortion lobby are in direct opposition to the desires of most Americans. In fact 7 of 10 Americans do not want their tax dollars used to pay for abortions, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

Fundamentally, the $1.26 million per day in taxpayer funding that the largest abortion provider — Planned Parenthood — receives, purportedly for non-abortion activities, does not satisfy the abortion lobby. They also hunger for an unencumbered opportunity to use Medicaid and other federal funding to pay for abortions in any circumstances.

If Planned Parenthood were to bully the United States Congress into permitting the use of the federal taxpayer funding authorized by S. 178 for abortions in any circumstances — funding intended to help victims of human trafficking — that would be a victory for the abortion industry in their long march to change long-standing federal abortion funding policy. The abortion industry has moved from “choice” to coercion, willing to endanger women, men and children trapped in human trafficking rather than see aid passed without full funding for all abortions.

The Senators carrying their water would be well served by a few moments of reflection.  Is a bill to aid victims of human trafficking — people who need swift justice and the resources necessary to rebuild their lives — of lesser value than a dogged quest to help the abortion giant Planned Parenthood gobble up more taxpayer funding to grow their booming abortion business?

During Cecile Richards’ tenure at Planned Parenthood, the nation’s number one abortion provider has gone from doing 1 in 5 abortions to 1 in 3, taking in $3.6 billion in taxpayer funds and clearing $710 million in pure profit, all thanks to beleaguered taxpayers who covered 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s total revenue.

But it appears that is not enough. Planned Parenthood and its allies in the Senate are willing to kill a bill to aid victims of human trafficking, simply because the bill incorporates the Hyde Amendment.  This should put members of Congress on notice: The abortion industry is willing to wage a war on defenseless people – women included — rather than be satisfied with only some abortion funding. The victims of human trafficking became victims again.