Here in North Dakota a bill being considered by the Legislature to address the human trafficking issue got waylaid by an assault from pro-abortion activists who objected to essentially pro forma language in the bill prohibiting the use of public dollars for abortions. The language isn’t unusual. Similar language gets added to a lot of legislation as a way to ensure that public dollars aren’t funding abortion.
Chris Dodson of the North Dakota Catholic Conference had a column here on SAB recently explaining the issue.
Interestingly, a similar issue has cropped up around human trafficking legislation in the federal legislature. Democrats are suddenly objecting to what is, again, essentially pro forma language put into the bill to prohibit the public funding of abortions. It’s called a Hyde Amendment, and Congress has been using it since the 1970’s.
But suddenly Democrats in Washington, much like Democrats here in North Dakota, are oh-so-concerned about it. Which sounds suspiciously coordinated to me. Someone, somewhere must have decided to put Hyde Amendment-like legislative language in the crosshairs of pro-abortion activists.
Anyway, North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp was asked about the language in the human trafficking legislation she’s championed, but rather than answer the question she suddenly decided she had to be somewhere else (emphasis mine):
Democrats preferred to change the subject Thursday. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota discussed the trafficking bill with reporters, but when asked if she knew about the abortion language, she said, “I’ve got to get going.”
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said top Democratic staffers read the bill, but the abortion language was “obscure,” and “we missed it.”
“I asked my staff, the ones I was about to fire, and they said, ‘No, it didn’t say that explicitly,'” Durbin said.
Remember when Senator Heitkamp campaigned as a political maverick not afraid to take on tough issues and stand up to her own party?
Anyone wonder where that version of Heitkamp went?
Anyway, the idea that this Hyde Amendment language was some sort of a surprise to Democrats is ridiculous. Again, this language has been in use since the 1970’s. It’s more like left-wing, pro-abortion activists decided to make an issue out of it and Democrats were caught unawares.
Especially Senators like Heidi Heitkamp who won a slim election victory in a red state and can cling to power only in so far as she can keep stay atop an ideological balance beam.