Missouri Family E-News

May 27, 2015

                
Human Trafficking Bill Wins Final Passage

The U.S. Congress has given final approval to a comprehensive bill that would strengthen federal laws banning the sexual trafficking of women and children.

The bill, known as the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, was adopted by the U.S. House last week by a nearly unanimous vote of 420-3.  It had been previously been approved by the Senate, and now moves on to the President's desk for his expected signature.

Included in the final bill was legislation introduced by St. Louis area Congresswoman Ann Wagner known as the SAVE Act (for Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation).

Wagner's proposal amends the federal criminal code to prohibit the online advertising of minors for purposes of commercial sexual activity. 

The major targets of the legislation are slimy websites like Backpage.com that advertise the availability of individuals for sexual encounters.  Human trafficking enterprises use these sites to market the sexual "services" of women who are enslaved in the sex trafficking trade.

"Online classified services have become the vehicles for advertising the victims of the sex trade to the world," Representative Wagner said during testimony on similar legislation in the Missouri State Capitol.

"Online customers log onto websites and order a young girl into their hotel room as easily as if they were ordering a pepperoni pizza," Wagner explained.  "Online sex customers have a lower risk of being caught due to the relative anonymity inherent in internet-based solicitation."

Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois was the sponsor of similar companion legislation in that chamber.  "This bill protects our most vulnerable and punishes those who profit from selling children online for sex."

"I urge President Obama to swiftly sign this into law so that those websites like Backpage.com and their advertisers can finally be held liable for aiding in human trafficking."

Representative Wagner praised the education components of the bill to combat the underage sex trade.  "Young people must be warned about the devious and manipulative strategies employed by traffickers to ensnare them in the trap of sexual slavery."  Most often the lure is the supposed prospect of a modeling career.

"The children at risk are not just high school students," Wagner added.  "Traffickers are known to prey on victims as young as nine years old.  They target their minor victims through social media websites, after-school programs, at shopping malls and in clubs, or through friends or acquaintances who recruit students on school campuses."

We commend Congresswoman Wagner for her fervent and consistent dedication to this critical issue, and congratulate her on winning passage of this vital legislation.

Legislation to amend Missouri law in the same fashion won unanimous support in the Missouri House and Senate this session.  However, the bill failed to win final passage due a legislative logjam during the final week of session.  Time ran out before minor differences between the House and Senate bills had been reconciled in a final proposal. 
  

Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 
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U.S. House Protects
Unborn Children from  Late-Term Abortions 

The U.S. House of Representatives has once again endorsed groundbreaking legislation which attempts to protect preborn children from the barbarity of late-term abortions.  Known as the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," the legislation prohibits most abortions after the unborn child has reached 20 weeks of gestation.

The bill is premised on growing scientific evidence that by 20 weeks after fertilization an unborn child's nervous and sensory system has developed to the point that excruciating pain is experienced during an abortion.  At the same time the point at which a preborn child is viable continues to advance, as more and more premature babies are surviving outside the womb as early as 22 weeks of pregnancy.

The House was scheduled to vote on the bill back in January on the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand.  However, the vote was scuttled over a major battle within the majority Republican caucus over the language of a rape and incest exception in the bill.

The final version of the bill adopted earlier this month includes such an exception, allowing late-term abortions to still occur if a woman claims she is a victim of rape or incest.  This is a massive loophole which dramatically weakens the enforceability of the measure and is certain to be widely abused.  At this point in a pregnancy, a woman has had five months to exercise her right to obtain an abortion if she has truly been impregnated due to a sexual assault.

Other exceptions to the ban are if continuation of the pregnancy would threaten the life of the mother, or result in "substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function." 

Despite the cowardly concession on the bogus rape and incest issue, supporters hailed the bill's passage.  "This bill is a deeply sincere effort to protect both mothers and their pain capable unborn babies from the unspeakable cruelty of evil monsters like Kermit Gosnell," said Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona, the chief sponsor of the proposal.

Kermit Gosnell is the late term abortionist found guilty of infanticide in 2013 for murdering infants born alive at his Philadelphia abortion clinic.  An extensive investigation of Gosnell's clinic by federal prosecutors found unspeakably hideous conditions and practices that were so repulsive that the facility was described as a "house of horrors."

Congressman Mike Kelley of Pennsylvania pointed out that late-term abortions are not only lethal to the child, but treacherous to the mother.  "Women seeking abortions at 20 weeks are 35 times more likely to die from the procedure than they are in the first trimester, and 91 times more likely to die from an abortion at 21 weeks of beyond."

The bill was adopted on a vote of 242-184.  Missouri Representatives Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Billy Long, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason Smith, and Ann Wagner voted for the 20-week abortion ban.  Congressmen William (Lacy) Clay and Emmanuel Cleaver voted to allow abortionists to continue to murder preborn children in the womb despite the fact that their age is the same or nearly the same as infants found in neo-natal intensive care units across our nation.

Dr. Colleen Malloy, an assistant professor of Neonatology at Northwestern University, says the science is indisputable.  "In today's medical arena, we resuscitate patients at this age and are able to witness their ex-utero growth and development.  The difference between fetal and neonatal pain is simply the locale in which the pain occurs.  I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to horrific procedures such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection."
Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser with the Catholic Association, observed that Kermit Gosnell is far from alone as a blood-thirsty agent of late-term abortions.  "Dr. Gosnell sits in jail because his reckless incompetence led him to kill premature babies born alive.  But at least 140 other late-term abortion doctors continue to legally abort 18,000 babies annually past 20 weeks by industry approved techniques like dismemberment.  Overwhelming majorities of Americans are opposed to this kind of violence."

Several public opinion surveys show support for legislation limiting late-term abortions to be extremely convincing and very broad-based.  Even a poll conducted by the ultraliberal Huffington Post found that respondents supported the 20-week abortion ban by a 2-1 margin.

Predictably, pro-abortion forces bemoaned the bill's passage.  Cecile Richards, the wealthy President of Planned Parenthood, said that the late-term abortion restrictions "lack compassion and respect."  Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, took issue with Richards' definition of those terms.

"The only thing that lacks respect in this debate is an organization that covers up rape and abuse, encourages sex trafficking, targets black children for extinction, and leaves women bleeding on the table without help.  Is that how Planned Parenthood defines 'compassion?'  Tearing babies apart when they can feel it?  Leaving women with deep emotional scars, and a lifetime of guilt?"

"Richards is right:  This is a dangerous bill,"  Perkins added.  "Dangerous to her bottom line.  Dangerous to her industry's slipping grip on her society.  But to the rest of the country who stands on the side of humanity, this is a vote that advances a culture of life.  We should no longer keep company with the brutal dictatorships of North Korea and China in allowing abortions after five months."

The U.S. House passed similar legislation two years ago, but it was never taken up by the U.S. Senate.  Supporters are more hopeful that it will be debated this year, with pro-life Republicans now in leadership of the Senate.  Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the sponsor of the companion bill in the Senate.

Should the legislation clear that chamber, it faces a promised veto by militantly pro-abortion President Barack Obama.  His press spokesman, Josh Earnest, stated that the effort to spare late-term infants from brutal violence in the womb is "disgraceful."  Noone should be surprised.  President Obama's legislative career includes opposition to a bill that would have required that doctors make efforts to save infants born alive from late-term abortions.

You can let your member of Congress know how you feel about their vote on this issue by using this link:
Members of U.S. House

Joe's Signature