A widely popular human trafficking bill is on the ropes as Senate Democrats, who were joining with Republicans to push the legislation, changed their minds literally overnight after “noticing” that it contained standard language to prevent any of the funds from going to abortion. From the Boston Herald:
The provision, enacted annually for decades on other legislation, would prohibit the use of taxpayer money for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman was jeopardized.
Democrats privately conceded they should have noticed the provision but complained Republicans failed to highlight it in a list of new features in this year’s bill. Republicans said Democrats had two months to read the bill.
Aside from an obvious crack about Democrats once again not reading their own bills, there’s another interesting piece to this story: Hyde amendment language has been placed in legislation for nearly 30 years and is widely popular (56% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortions according to CNN). In other words, if the GOP stands by its principles, Democrats will be left with the blame for holding up human trafficking legislation…because they don’t want to protect public money from funding abortion!
The Democrat blockade is an obvious win-win for any Republican running in 2016, especially presidential candidates: Can you imagine a Democratic nominee like Sen. Warren on the debate stage trying to justify a vote against human trafficking legislation so that she could kill the Hyde amendment? My advice to the GOP field is: This is a godsend. Hit them on this hard and often, and, for Pete’s sake, don’t repeat Ellmers’ 20-week bill fiasco by folding.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.