Democrats in the U.S. Senate filibustered a sex trafficking bill yesterday, the same exact bill they dramatically supported until a week ago. Why the change of heart? Until last week, they weren’t told by the abortion lobby that they had to fight it.
The brief bill, which would create a fund for victims based on fees assessed to sex traffickers, enjoyed broad bipartisan support. In fact, it had no opposition.
That was, it had no other opposition until the controversial abortion rights groups NARAL and Planned Parenthood realized at the very last second that a gravy train of federal funds for groups that abort unborn children might be at risk.
Here’s the story. The bill was introduced January 13, 2015. It ended up with 13 Democratic co-sponsors. Folks like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Oh, and even Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and three other female Democratic senators. A hearing was held on the legislation on February 24; and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send it to the Senate with a vote of 19-0-1 on February 26.
Yet somehow, ten of the Democrats who sponsored the bill ended up voting to filibuster it yesterday after NARAL and Planned Parenthood suddenly went against it last week. Of the 13 Democrats who once loved this bill enough to sponsor it, one, Boxer, dropped her co-sponsorship on March 10, the day Planned Parenthood and NARAL launched their public relations campaign. Another 10 voted to filibuster it, leaving only Sen. Robert Casey (D-Penn.) and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) voting with Republicans to end debate and proceed to a vote.
So why in the world does the abortion lobby oppose a bill to help victims of human trafficking? Well, this may be hard to believe, but the abortion lobby opposes this bill because it doesn’t provide public funding for elective abortions. The bill includes a standard Hyde amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
Now, as The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift puts it, “Democrats lost the debate about the Hyde Amendment 40 years ago.” The public does not like funding elective abortions with taxpayer dollars. According to a Quinnipiac poll from 2010, 67 percent oppose using public funds to pay for abortion, and only 27 percent support it.
But even if the public doesn’t like taxpayer funding of violence against the unborn, abortion rights groups are better at persuading the media. They are much more amenable to such practices and taxpayer funding of same. (For a sample of what much media coverage looks like when it comes to taxpayer funding, you can check out this doozie by Jennifer Bendery and Amanda Terkel. It reads almost like a press release written by Planned Parenthood.)
NARAL put its first hit out on March 10, but really got going on March 12. Note that its first tweet that day mentions Boxer, who withdrew her co-sponsorship on March 10:
GOP says they’re here to help women – so why did they sneak in #antichoice provisions to #humantrafficking bill? @SenatorBoxer #StrikeTheBan
— NARAL (@NARAL) March 12, 2015
It is perhaps also worth noting that no language was “snuck in.” It was always on the bill. On pages 4 and 5. These are the same pages that were discussed by the committee on the day that Schumer proposed an amendment to the bill, so this talking point is particularly laughable.
Then there’s this gem.
Anybody else notice that only men are supporting #antichoice restrictions in a #humantrafficking bill? #StrikeTheBan #GetReal
— NARAL (@NARAL) March 12, 2015
Which is a great argument except for how it lies about the fact that four female Democratic senators were co-sponsors of the bill when that tweet went out. In addition to Heitkamp and Feinstein, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) were sponsors. So, for that matter, were Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
Hey, as Barbie says, math is hard, right?
Here’s Planned Parenthood’s first tweet on the matter:
Despicable. @JohnCornyn takes a bill to protect victims of #humantrafficking—and pushes abortion restrictions. http://t.co/fIlpwUMott
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) March 10, 2015
They claim Cornyn “slipped the language banning taxpayer-funded abortion in,” but if that’s the case, why did not a single Democrat oppose the bill in committee when the language was there? Why did 13 Democrats co-sponsor a bill that had such language? Why was the bill approved unanimously by the committee? Why did not a single Democrat pipe up for two full weeks after that? Why did Democrats agree to move ahead with a vote?
That’s easy. The reason is because somehow NARAL and Planned Parenthood didn’t realize until the bill was about to pass that it put their abortion gravy train at risk. And as soon as they put out the War on Women APB, Democrats fell in line with alarming speed and devotion.
Prior to March 10, no Democrats opposed the bill and Planned Parenthood and NARAL didn’t issue a peep about it. Since the afternoon of March 10, when Barbara Boxer dropped her support and Planned Parenthood decided to launch its public relations campaign against the bill, Planned Parenthood has tweeted some 60 times trying to gin up opposition — more than 60 percent of its tweets during that time. Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood, tweeted a couple dozen times, also beginning on March 10. And NARAL tweeted against the bill nearly 47 times, again beginning on March 10. Heck, almost like it was all coordinated.
It’s certainly not a surprise that the Democratic Party is so controlled by Planned Parenthood, but it was still remarkable to watch the whole thing transpire in real time.