After spending a month hijacking a bill to help sex trafficking victims to push its abortion-funding agenda, Senate Democrats finally caved and they will drop their filibuster against the bill. Their decision to back down is a huge victory for women and Senate Republicans who stood their ground against abortion funding.
Senate Democrats have voted a total of five times against ending debate on the bill and allowing a vote to help women because they are insistent on making Americans fund abortions. Now, pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced that Democrats are finally backing down and will allow a vote on the bill to help women and quit pushing to have some of the money meant for victims to pay for abortions.
Now, the Senate will vote on the sex trafficking bill with the pro-life provisions against using the funds meant for victims to pay for abortions in place. The Washington Examiner has more on how Republicans will ensure funds in the bill will not pay for abortions:
According to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, the money has been split so that restrictions on abortion do not apply to fees collected for the victims, which Democrats said constituted an expansion of abortion limitations. The segregated fund would pay for law enforcement services and shelters, not medical services.
Money for medical services for the victims would be fenced off in a fund furnished by taxpayer money. Federal restrictions on abortion funding would apply to that fund.
Cornyn said he was “thrilled” with the deal, which comes after weeks of stalled action on the legislation.
Last week, McConnell challenged Democrats to back down.
“This needs to stop,” McConnell said of Democrats blocking the bill. “This ridiculous fight over language that they’ve already voted for frequently in the past really needs to stop so we can move forward with this very important human trafficking bill.
“This is no minor issue, and once we do that, then we’ll move on to consider the president’s nominee for Attorney General,” McConnell said.
In the last two of the five votes, Democrats voted 56-42 and 57-42 against motions to allow a vote on the bill to help human trafficking victims because they are not happy that funds meant to help women won’t be used to pay for abortions. The only Democrats to join Senate Republicans in supporting sex trafficking victims over abortion funding were Sens. Bob Casey, Pa.; Joe Donnelly, Ind.; Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.; and Joe Manchin, WV.
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“They all voted for the very same language in a bill in December,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told CNN on Sunday. “This is boilerplate language that has been in the law for almost 40 years that they all voted for three months ago in another bill.”
Leading pro-life advocates were furious that pro-abortion Democrats continue holding up vital legislation meant to help women victimized by the grisly sex trafficking trade.
“Pro-abortion Senators are filibustering legislation that would aid victims of human trafficking for one reason: It does not include federal funding of abortion on-demand,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s group. “That’s right: Federal funding to abort babies is so important to Harry Reid and his pro-abortion colleagues that they’re even willing to throw victims of human trafficking under the bus.”
Dannenfelser is not surprised, given how the biggest abortion business looks the other way when victims of sex trafficking are brought in for abortions.
“Remember, Planned Parenthood has been caught on video aiding and abetting in the alleged trafficking of minors. Victims of human trafficking need our help, not Big Abortion,” she said.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council also complained about Senate Democrats blocking the bill over abortion.
“Senate liberals don’t want to help victims — they want to create more,” he said.
“Democrats feigned surprise that the legislation included a ban on taxpayer-funded abortion — standard operating procedure for any spending measure,” Perkins added. “Still, the President’s party (which voted unanimously to send the bill to the floor) must have suddenly decided to read the proposal after passing it and erupted in protest that routine Hyde language was included. And while the Left may be able to play the American people, Senate Republicans know how manufactured the outrage is.”
“Why are we threatening to kill this legislation to help the most vulnerable victims in America?” pro-life Sen. John Cornyn, the sponsor of the bill, asked on the Senate floor. “Instead of our helping hand, by killing this bill, as our friends across the aisle have done, we’re giving them a shrug of indifference”
“Children are being abused and literally sexually assaulted while, apparently, some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have decided to try to make a political point,” he said. “To our colleagues who are filibustering this legislation, are you prepared to turn your back on the thousands of people living every day in bondage and who are desperately clinging to the hope that someone, someone will lend them a helping hand? Are you prepared to abandon these children and these other victims of human trafficking who deserve a roof over their head, someone to lean on, and somehow, some way to get a fresh start in life?”
Cornyn questioned why every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted for the exact same bill in committee but are now opposing it on the Senate floor after realizing that it would not fund abortions.
The legislation passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee without any problems but, now, pro-abortion activists are raising a stink about how funds for restitution for human trafficking victims won’t pay for abortions. The objection is offensive to victims of human trafficking and millions of girls and young women around the world who are victimized by it, putting abortion ahead of meeting their needs.
This isn’t the first time Democrats have put abortion ahead of helping human trafficking victims. The Obama Administration put abortion ahead of human trafficking twice — by denying a grant to the Catholic bishops to help victims because they wouldn’t promote abortion and by refusing to investigate how the Planned Parenthood abortion business covered up potential cases of sex trafficking.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had previously received a five-year $19 million grant to help victims of sex trafficking during the administration of pro-life President George W. Bush. Sensitive to how women are exploited in the sex industry, the Catholic bishops prohibit any subcontractors from using the funds to pay for or promote abortions. Instead, the Catholic bishops provide comprehensive case management services to survivors including medical and mental health services.
While the Obama administration extended the contract briefly, the bishops were notified that it would not be renewed. Instead, Obama officials awarded the grant to three other groups (Tapestri of Atlanta, Heartland Human Care Services of Chicago and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants of Washington) — even though the bishops have helped more than 2,700 victims with the funding.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held the hearing on the administration’s decision.
During the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said the decision violated the Obama administration’s “pledge to be the most transparent in history.”
“Unfortunately, today, we are presented with an example of how that goal is not being met and an opportunity to understand how the federal grant-making process has been politicized,” he said.
“The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has begun an investigation into the process used by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to award grants that fund many types of care and services,” he told the hearing. “That investigation has uncovered many disturbing facts about the grant awards process, including: the most experienced and top rated national applicant was not selected, and lower-ranked organizations were somehow funded. The process was delayed for months while the agency struggled to find ways to inject new criteria into the process, and—of great concern—the judgment of experienced, career-level professionals was discarded when political appointees chose to overrule transparent decision-making.”
“These actions appear to constitute an abuse of discretion and undermine the integrity of the process, while potentially violating the spirit, if not the letter, of federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination based on religious beliefs,” Issa said.