It was only last year that Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance criticized the term “war on women” as “phony, focus-grouped rhetoric” geared to “raise money and hackles” among Democrats. She predicted that women would turn on Obama and wouldn't vote on issues such as abortion rights or birth control access (unless they are anti-choice). Of course, exit polls showed that Obama carried women voters over Romney 55-44% and that 59% of voters said abortion should be legal either in all or most cases.
So it should come as no surprise that Nance is now using the “war” rhetoric in her latest Washington Times op-ed: “When high-sounding legislation becomes a war against women.” That’s right, she now believes that there is in fact a war on women, but that it comes from supporters of the Violence Against Women Act.
She claims that VAWA “hurts sex-trafficking victims,” even though 93 Senators voted for Sen. Patrick Leahy’s amendment focused on combating the trafficking of women and girls.
The Violence Against Women Act headed to the president’s desk lulls Americans into believing that actual violence was addressed Thursday when, in reality, Congress pushed through a bad bill that hurts sex-trafficking victims, seeks to legalize prostitution for minors and fails to protect the consciences of organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that oppose abortion but want to protect trafficking victims.
Within the Senate version of the act is an amendment by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, that decimates the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors, and assaults the conscience protections of groups that have a history of hands-on help for these victims.
The Violence Against Women Act also promotes the decriminalization of prostitution of minors for states, which is also dangerous for trafficking victims. Decriminalization provides a perfect opportunity for pimps, traffickers and gangs to exploit minors in the sex industry by telling the minors that it is not illegal and that they will not get arrested. In Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, child prostitution increased after prostitution was legalized. Why would the outcome be any different here if states decriminalize prostitution for minors? Section 1243 seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors:
It prohibits the charging of a minor for a prostitution offense. This removes all judicial discretion from the process.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that there were only 895 arrests of minors for prostitution in 2010. In 2011, the number of arrests dropped to 763. Over the past seven years, arrests of minors for prostitution have averaged 1,067 annually.
Decriminalization provides a great recruiting tool for gangs, pimps and traffickers, who can say, “Don’t worry; it’s not illegal.”
The lesson Congress has learned from the “war on women” apparently is that as long as the title of the legislation sounds good, you must vote for it — even if it is bad policy.