Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on Tuesday said Democrats' refusal to pass an anti-human trafficking bill with anti-abortion language was akin to refusing to abolish slavery in the 19th century.
“They are making the same mistake that Democrats made in the 1850s when they defended slavery,” Kirk told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. “We should all be neo-abolitionists here, to make sure that there is no right in America to enslave others using the Internet.”
Democrats actually back the Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act, which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. Democrats are now refusing to support the legislation, which would create a fund for the victims of human trafficking, because they say that they were unaware that anti-abortion language was in the bill.
The language in the bill would prevent federal money in the compensation fund from being used for an abortion, except in the case of rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger. This means that survivors of human trafficking who were raped would have a burden to prove they were raped to use money from the fund for an abortion.
Despite criticizing Democrats for holding up the bill, Kirk also said Tuesday that he wished that the anti-abortion language wasn't in the bill.
"My wish is we hadn't junked that bill up with abortion politics," he said. "Let's just stand for the principle that we are all against slavery and keep the bill clean of extraneous measures."
Democrats have already filibustered the bill, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the Senate will vote again on the legislation on Thursday.
McConnell is also refusing to consider the nomination of Loretta Lynch to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder until the anti-trafficking legislation is resolved.
H/T Roll Call