After Senate Democrats blocked an anti-human trafficking bill last week because it lacked language that would allow abortions, pro-life groups have come together to condemn the decision and to advocate for anti-trafficking legislation.
“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,” stated Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America.
“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,” Hawkins concluded.
Susan B. Anthony List’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, was also quick to condemn Senate Democrats for ‘playing politics.’ “Democrats once again are putting abortion ideology first,” she stated.
The bill in question was the Justice for Victims in Trafficking Act. Needing 60 votes to pass out of the Senate, the legislation was blocked after a 55-43 vote on May 15th. The reason most Democrats voted no on the legislation was due to a provision that kept funding marked for trafficking victim assistance from being used to provide abortions.
Since the vote, pro-life groups have not merely settled for condemning the Senate’s actions from afar; several have gone to Capitol Hill to do some advocacy of their own. Global Centurion and the Center for Family and Human Rights hosted a half-day event on Capitol Hill featuring remarks from Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.).
In addition to Lankford and Smith, other guests at the event included experts who discussed the health impact of sex trafficking as well as treatment and prevention methods. One of the presenters was social worker Betty McDowell, who is the Senior Director of Ministry Services for Heartbeat International, a network of over 2,500 pregnancy help organizations worldwide.
McDowell posed a scenario to the room, highlighting the importance of the connection between pregnancy help centers and anti-trafficking efforts. She explained that if a pregnancy center receives basic training in recognizing the signs of human trafficking, they will then be equipped to help women who come into their facility with those signs. Further highlighting the potential benefits, McDowell explained that the pregnancy center could work in conjunction with local law enforcement and be a key factor in ending human trafficking in their region.
“Pregnancy resource centers are first responders to human trafficking,” McDowell concluded. “We are uniquely qualified to help trafficking victims and their unborn children.”
According to Dr. Laura Lederer, president of Global Centurion, approximately 70 percent of sexually trafficked women have become pregnant at some point during trafficking.