Planned Parenthood Condemns Senator McConnell, Efforts to Pass Abortion Restrictions in Human Trafficking Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Planned Parenthood Action Fund released the following statement today condemning Senator Mitch McConnell for his dismissive and crass comments on CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning regarding abortion restrictions that have been tucked into an otherwise bipartisan bill to help victims of human trafficking.

Statement from Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

"The provision that Senator McConnell so dismissively and cavalierly referred to as 'boilerplate' hurts women across the country, denying those struggling to make ends meet from accessing safe and legal abortion. What McConnell calls ‘boilerplate’ is policy that disproportionately harms low income women and women of color.  Not only would the trafficking bill apply that harmful provision to women who have been victims of trafficking, but it would go even farther in restricting new funding.

“This is politics at its worst. Opponents of safe and legal abortion are using a bill that was supposed to help women to hurt women and hold up the important Senate business of confirming a well-qualified nominee to serve as Attorney General. That’s why we’re calling on Members of Congress to stand with women by opposing this provision and instead support Senator Leahy’s comprehensive substitute amendment.

“The Senate should protect victims of human trafficking but should not do so at the expense of women's access to safe and legal abortion.  Among its many critical improvements, Senator Leahy’s amendment removes harmful barriers to safe and legal abortion and also clarifies that child victims of trafficking are not prostitutes or criminals and should instead be given safe harbor and cared for as the victims of rape they are. The majority of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and they need access to the full range of reproductive health care services without barriers.”

BACKGROUND:

  • In a survey of 67 sex trafficking victims, more than half reported having had abortions, according to a report by Laura J. Lederer, a former Senior Advisor to the U.S. Department of State.
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 women surveyed said they had at least one pregnancy while trafficked, and 20% of respondents reported five or more pregnancies.
  • The women polled in the study also reported being forced to have sex with an average of 13 “buyers” a day.
  • Sixty percent of women and girls who come across the U.S. border report being raped along the dangerous journey,according to an Amnesty International survey.