Legislation intended to curtail human trafficking and help victims with their recovery was blocked by Democrats Thursday after Republicans insisted on keeping in a poison pill provision that would restrict access to abortion.”We Democratic women believe a bill intended to help women should be about helping women, period,” Sen. Patty Murray of Washington said from the Senate floor Thursday. “The women senators who have joined us on the floor today have seen this kind of inappropriate, disappointing political stunts geared at rolling back women’s rights before… Not on our watch.”Both Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid promised the bill would pass even as they were at a complete impasse on the abortion language, which would prevent women from using any money in the victims compensation fund for an abortion (except in cases of rape and incest).”It’s so simple, just take it out, take the abortion language out,” Reid said from the Senate floor. Reid advocated for voting on new text for the bill that simply omitted the abortion language. McConnell offered a vote on stripping the language, which would have surely failed to attract enough votes to remove the provision.The dispute came down to a bout of finger pointing. Republicans claimed the contents of the bill had been available for everyone to read for “two months.” But the bill had changed since last year, when the abortion restriction had not been included.”Democratic senators who have been working in good faith on this critical legislation for years assumed that their Republican colleagues were being forthright when they provided a list of changes that did not include the addition of the Hyde language,” Reid said, referring to the abortion restrictions.
12:29 PM PT: UPDATE: Mitch McConnell has filed for a cloture vote on the bill, which still includes the anti-abortion provision. Harry Reid has promised to block the bill as is.