CWA’s Nance: Human Trafficking Bill Backlash ‘Absolutely Outrageous’

Cites media complicity in ‘War on Women.’

“Absolutely outrageous.” “Sad.” “Ridiculous.” Those are the words Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance used to describe liberal opposition to the human trafficking bill because it contains language preventing federal funding of abortion.

On March 16, Nance moderated a “War No More" panel hosted by her organization in Washington, D.C. After the event – which challenged liberals’ so-called “War on Women” – Nance spoke with MRC Culture about issues pertaining to women.

“I think it’s absolutely outrageous that [Senate Democrats] are willing to hold up help to trafficking victims because they have to push abortion,” she told MRC Culture. “How sad and ridiculous is that?”

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, a bipartisan-supported anti-human trafficking bill authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), faced criticism on March 10 from Democrats because of inclusion of decades-old Hyde Amendment language, which bars federal funding for abortions. Senate Democrats filibustered the legislation on March 17. 

“We don’t believe in any way, shape or form that pushing women towards abortion – that damages their soul and their body and their spirit and their future – somehow that that’s the way to go,” Nance said. “We’ve got to help trafficking victims,” she emphasized, “and abortion is not the answer.”

The act attempted to establish the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund, which would have used fines against traffickers towards helping trafficked victims. While Democrats feared the language would “expand” the Hyde Amendment to include fees and fines, Sen. Cornyn argued that the fight was a “phony issue” because the amendment “contains an exception for rape and the health of the mother.” “[T]hese limitations on spending,” he argued on the Senate floor, “wouldn’t have anything to do about the services available to help, under this act, those victims of human trafficking.” 

Addressing the media-driven “War on Women” lingo, Nance noted a “complicity between the liberal, the left-leaning media and certainly liberal advocates in the Democratic Party.” While the message worked in 2012, Nance said it “fell flat” in 2014.

She credited the change to actual wars against women. “Sadly, in the front pages of the newspapers across the country, we saw what a real war on women looked like,” she said, “when women were being hurt and violated and murdered at the hands of radical jihadists around the globe."

The media have long advertised the “War on Women” – while censoring women in real danger overseas.  “So, it looked silly, it looked trite,” Nance said. 

As far as women today, Nance highlighted how, “We’re doing great as women, better than we’ve ever done in history” even though there are still “some strides that we can make.” 

“Let’s talk about the issues that really matter to women, about flexibility in the workplace, talk about education opportunity,” she suggested. 

“As a nation, we are so grateful to have been born in a country where our God-given rights … are embraced and recognized in our system of laws,” she said. “Not every woman in the world can say that. In fact, 55 percent of people that are legally immigrating in this country are women, and that’s why.” 

Other panelists at the event included Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), American Conservative Union Foundation's Carly Fiorina, Independent Women's Forum’s Sabrina Schaeffer and The Polling Company Inc./Woman Trend's Kellyanne Conway. As the press release read, the panel fostered “dialogue on the continued messaging strategy to cast conservative principles as a ‘War on Women.’"

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.