An abortion debate is threatening to derail a bill in the U.S. Senate dealing with human trafficking. The bill would establish a fund for victims of trafficking by making traffickers pay larger fines. It had strong support from both parties until Democrats learned the Republican sponsor had added language preventing victims from using the funds on abortions. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) spoke on the Senate floor Thursday urging Republicans to allow the amendment to be removed.
Click here for summary
“I’m upset about this provision in that it shouldn't be in this bill. This bill is not about abortion. It’s about human trafficking. Instead, this provision has now become another opportunity for political speeches and delay,” Durbin said.
Durbin is also worried the provision opens the door to further abortion restrictions in the future.
Republican leaders in the Senate have defended the provision, saying it had been in the bill since it was reintroduced in the current Congress. Democrats contend they weren’t told about the change.
Durbin also attacked another proposed Republican amendment to the bill, this one dealing with U.S. citizenship. This provision would deny citizenship to children born to non-citizens, unless they have a green card or are actively serving in the military. Durbin argues this would violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and said it should be “Senate 101” that the Constitution can’t be changed simply by passing a bill through Congress.