Dems intensify fight over abortion provision

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Senate Democrats want to strip a controversial abortion measure from a stalled Senate bill that aims to fight human trafficking.

Democrats are threatening to block the Justice for Trafficking Victims Act, which bolsters resources for law enforcement and trafficking victims, because of inclusion of the Hyde Amendment, which blocks the use of federal funds on abortions. 

{mosads}Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the amendment that would remove the abortion language, and replace it with Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act, which is currently stuck in the Judiciary Committee.

Leahy’s legislation, which aims to prevent youths from being trafficked, would prohibit anyone from denying benefits to a trafficking victim because of their race, sexual orientation or disability. 

The amendment would also add Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, which incentivizes states to have a “safe harbor” provision to the anti-trafficking bill.  

If the legislation passes with the abortion language intact, the victims fund that would be established using money from criminal trafficking convictions would be subject to the Hyde Amendment. 

Durbin said that is an expansion of the Hyde Amendment, which has typically been limited to spending bills.  

“This language paves the way for political leaders in the future to interfere even more with a woman’s basic personal health decisions,” the Illinois Democrat said. 

“It sets the tone for expansion of abortion restrictions for years to come.”

Tags Abortion Amy Klobuchar Dick Durbin Hyde Amendment Patrick Leahy trafficking

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