Letter to the Editors: April 24, 2015

It’s always a comfort to learn that our Minnesotan Congressional representatives are standing in the way of damaging legislation. I write to express my support of Senator Amy Klobuchar in her fight to keep dangerous abortion restrictions out of the Justice for Trafficking Victims Act.

When S. 187 – Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was introduced in mid-January to establish funds that would help provide victims of sex-trafficking the resources to heal and resettle, there was widespread bipartisan support. The vast majority of human trafficking incidents in the U.S. involve criminals coercing women and children into performing commercial sex acts. An account I read from a survivor used the image of a revolving door to describe the scope of men who raped her the day the Super Bowl took place in the city where she was trafficked. Once they are free from these repulsive conditions of modern-day slavery, trafficking survivors deserve ALL the support and services possible to get their lives back on track.

Unfortunately, Republican leadership is blocking this bill with a provision that expands the Hyde amendment: a discriminatory amendment that bans federal funding for abortion care in most cases. In fact, the restrictions would reach beyond the extent of the Hyde Amendment because the victims’ compensation fund stems from fines on traffickers, not taxpayer dollars. The GOP’s introduction and refusal to remove this clause demonstrates that they are more focused on pushing their own ideological agenda of banning abortion than helping sex-trafficking victims to access health care in their time of need.

It’s sickening, but if the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act passed as it is, lawmakers would further control the autonomy of survivors by denying them the resources to make their own reproductive decisions. This act was designed to help survivors, not to hurt them further.

Let’s support the courageous stance of Senator Klobuchar so that we can defeat anyone who puts personal politics above the health and safety of women.

Payne McMillan ’15 mcmillap@stolaf.edu is from BlueBell, Pa. He majors in English.