ALBANY, NY, May 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As human trafficking victims tearfully asked New York lawmakers to pass a bill imposing tougher penalties on their captors, the president of the state's NARAL chapter said what sex slaves need is greater access to abortion.
The women hoped to spur legislators in Albany to pass an anti-trafficking measure that stalled last year, after it was coupled with a bill to radically expand abortion. The Reproductive Health Act would allow non-physicians to perform abortions, roll back restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks, and force hospitals to refer women to abortion facilities or lose state funding.
Abortion advocates refused to decouple the bills last year. Assemblywoman Amy Paulin hopes her measure fighting human slavery in the United States will pass as a stand-alone bill this year.
But Andrea Miller, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, said both measures – punishing pimps and liberalizing abortion-on-demand – are vital to help victimized women.
“There’s no doubt that the same women and girls who are victims of sex trafficking face other hurdles that the Women’s Equality Act is designed to overcome, including sexual harassment, housing discrimination, and lack of access to reproductive health care,” she said.
She said the two planks of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 10-point plan, on abortion and sex slavery respectively, showed that “women experience multiple and intertwined barriers to full equality.”
“We shouldn't be forced to choose which of our rights will be protected, especially when a comprehensive bill like the Women’s Equality Act is on the table,” Miller said.
“The promise of equality across the full spectrum of our lives is still possible,” she said.
But women who were forced onto the streets say, far from being denied abortions, their tormentors often forced them to abort children they wanted to keep, so that they could keep working in the sex trade.
Jasmine Marino-Fiandaca says a man she thought was her boyfriend groomed, brainwashed, and abused her before trafficking her in multiple states. After she got pregnant, he forced her to have an abortion. That was the spark that led her to break away from him. The 32-year-old is now a mother of two in Massachusetts.
In 2011, Live Action caught multiple Planned Parenthood locations offering to cover up for sexual trafficking on camera. Amy Woodruff, the manager of a Planned Parenthood facility in neighboring New Jersey, advised a girl posing as an underage prostitute to lie about her age to avoid mandatory disclosure laws. She then advised the girl that she could still make her pimp money during the two weeks she could not have intercourse by working from the “waist up.” She was later fired.
Observers warn linking the abortion-expansion bill to the human trafficking law will doom both measures. Earlier this month, the Senate Health Committee killed the abortion measure.
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“NARAL's just trying to muddy the waters” by equating the two issues, when “they're not the same at all,” Michael Long, chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State, told LifeSiteNews.
“Abortion is taking the life of a human being,” he said, “and the bill to stop sex trafficking is to protect women and punish those who dare to use that as a financial gain to themselves.”
“We're already the abortion capital of the United States. Clearly, we don't need to liberalize, or expand, or make it easier to have abortions in the third trimester, which is what NARAL wants,” Long told LifeSiteNews.
The young girls who gathered in the state capital yesterday were in no mood for political games, saying there is not a moment to waste.
“Every minute that passes there is a child or a teen who is being sexually trafficked,” an 18-year-old victim, who was kidnapped and forced into prostitution at age nine, said on Tuesday. “It is happening right here in New York.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, tied the issues of abortion and sex slavery together in a different way. The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act (H.B. 388) forced abortionists to give women a pamphlet including the harmful side effects post-abortive women experience, as well as information on how victims of sexual trafficking and coerced abortion can escape their captors.
The bill has passed the state House and is presently being considered by the Louisiana state Senate.