Pro-life groups expressed their displeasure with Senate Democrats Tuesday after an anti-human trafficking bill was blocked on the Senate floor over language that prevents funding in the measure from going toward abortions.
"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," said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. "The abortion lobby and their allies in the Senate should be ashamed of themselves."
"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."
Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) president Marjorie Dannenfelser accused Democrats of playing politics with the bill. "Democrats once again are putting abortion ideology first," she said.
The Justice for Victims in Trafficking Act, which needed 60 votes to proceed, was blocked on Tuesday in a 55-43 vote. A provision in the bill that prevented money from a fund intended to help trafficking victims from being used for abortions angered Democrats.
"Abortion legislation has no place in a human trafficking bill," Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor before the vote.
The bill's supporters said the language in question is in line with the Hyde Amendment, a long standing ban on taxpayer funded abortions, and has been in the bill for months.
"The Hyde Amendment, which stops taxpayer dollars from going to fund elective abortion, has been a part of this legislation since January," SBA president Dannefelser said. "Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion on-demand."
Pro-life groups pointed to Democrats and their pro-choice allies as the ones behind the bill's demise.
Americans United for Life (AUL) said the "abortion lobby" wanted the bill defeated. "It is extremely disappointing that aid to victimized women was blocked because abortion advocates wanted to expose them to the health risks of abortion at taxpayer expense," AUL's vice president of government affairs Daniel McConchie said. "The abortion lobby is more interested in profits than people, and this vote illustrates how taxpayer funded abortion is the true goal for Big Abortion, rather than helping women."
The Susan B. Anthony List accused Harry Reid of throwing trafficking victims under the bus. "Minority Leader Reid is ignoring history and carelessly throwing victims of human trafficking under the bus in order to cater to the abortion industry," SBA's Dannefelser said. "This is abortion politics at its worst and the most vulnerable among us—women and unborn children alike—deserve better."
Reid's office did not respond to a request for comment.