The Democratic Party appears to take the sacramental view of abortion. Any act that might tend to deter an abortion is to be resisted. It’s the abortion equivalent of the positive good school of slavery. If the party as a whole doesn’t subscribe to this view, its funders certainly must.
Thus the dramatic turnaround in Democratic support for the Justice for Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2015. It passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with broad bipartisan support. Yet even the bill’s Democratic supporters in committee, such as Minnesota’s own lighter-than-air Senator Amy Klobuchar (a cosponsor of the bill) and angry former comedian Senator Al Franken, turned against it.
What happened? Politico reported on the action behind the scenes in “How abortion politics scuttled a human-trafficking bill.” Politico reports: “Democrats’ explanation [of their newfound opposition to the bill] shifted throughout the week.” Politico leaves the intelligent reader to draw his own conclusions. (Guy Benson has more here and here.)
Committee Democrats claim that they were shocked, shocked to discover the Hyde restriction on abortion funding in the bill. They didn’t know what they were doing when they voted for it! They didn’t mean it.
Klobuchar and other committee Democrats blame their staffers for failing to inform them that the bill included the language. Beyond that Klobuchar has not strayed.
Franken goes further. He says he regrets not seeing the language and regrets his vote for the bill. Now that’s contrition. (As for me, I just regret that he is one of Minnesota’s Senators, but I regret it deeply.)
New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has only cast several votes on the bill supporting the Democratic filibuster. The Manchester Union Leader traces her votes supporting the filibuster of the bill to the marching orders of her biggest supporter: Emily’s List. A Union Leader editorial argues:
Just before the bill was to come up for a vote, the abortion lobby noticed that it contained a long-standing provision, “routinely included in spending bills,” as Politico reported, called the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of elective abortions. The call went out: block the bill.
The pro-abortion organization Emily’s List attacked the bipartisan bill as Republican legislation too “extreme” to pass. Emily’s List is Shaheen’s top campaign donor. Shaheen dutifully voted to filibuster the bill, preventing it from being brought up for a vote.
In last year’s Senate race, Emily’s List was Shaheen’s largest supporter, directing $250,231 to her campaign, most from members, $10,000 from the group’s political action committee, according to Opensecrets.org. Since 2001, Emily’s List has directed $1,151,534 to Shaheen. For perspective, her next-largest financier, the League of Conservation Voters, was responsible for $125,341.
In a statement on Tuesday, Shaheen outrageously spun her vote as a principled stand for women’s health. “Human trafficking is too important an issue to be stalled because of unrelated measures aimed at restricting women’s access to healthcare,” she said.
But of course nothing in the bill restricts women’s access to health care. It only prohibits federal taxpayer funding of elective abortions, a broadly popular position…
Shaheen’s full statement on the bill is posted here.
As the Union Leader suggests, Shaheen’s statement is a joke. Fortunately for these Democrats, trafficking in cynicism remains legal in all 50 states.