In a statement, Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said: “Survivors of human trafficking have dealt with the unfathomable, yet politicians wanted to add insult to injury by passing a bill that would limit their access to safe and legal abortion care.” 

“Playing politics with women’s access to reproductive health care is simply reprehensible,” Northup added.

As the Huffington Post notes, the Hyde Amendment is routinely slipped in to annual appropriations bills. The human trafficking bill, however, “is an authorization bill for five years, meaning that the abortion restrictions would be in place for a much longer period, and without congressional review. The bill also expands Hyde Amendment restrictions beyond taxpayer dollars to include revenue from traffickers’ fees.”

Rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America denounced the underhanded effort. “It is despicable that anti-choice politicians chose to use a bill designed to protect victims from violence as a vehicle to expand the discriminatory Hyde amendment in unprecedented ways,” the group said. “Access to comprehensive health care is a basic human right. Every time these extremist politicians try to extend the Hyde amendment, women are denied the ability to make personal and private medical decisions.”

Planned Parenthood issued a statement detailing the myriad ways the new GOP-led Senate has incorporated anti-abortion language into otherwise unrelated bills, including the new House education bill, ESEA. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that anti-women’s health politicians in Washington are determined to advance their anti-abortion agenda at any cost,” said Planned Parenthood.

Advocates are urging Congress to revisit the bill and pass legislation that supports and protects the rights of human trafficking survivors without limiting their reproductive health choices.

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