(WNS)–The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan human trafficking bill on April 22, scoring a significant victory for Republicans who fought to ensure taxpayer funding wouldn’t go to pay for abortions.
“Help is finally on the way for the thousands of enslaved victims who suffer unspeakable abuse in the shadows,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act boosts law enforcement’s ability to pursue perpetrators, strengthens penalties, and establishes a domestic fund to help trafficking victims. The legislation was widely popular, but it only passed after an unexpected month-long stalemate between Republicans and Democrats.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, a primary sponsor of the trafficking bill, worked with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to forge a compromise that saved face for Democrats but ultimately didn’t allow taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.
Pro-life groups applauded the Republican stand and pointed to the battle as evidence Congress needs to make permanent the prohibition on taxpayer-backed abortions.
Last year, a Government Accountability Office report found more than 1,000 healthcare plans available on Obamacare exchanges included abortion coverage—in most cases paid for by taxpayer subsidies.