There’s complicated news, too: it’s a compromise. It’s not quite what we’d hoped for, but it’ll do.
Here’s an article from the New York Times about it.
Let’s break the whole situation down:
The major sticking point was the Hyde Amendment provision that was added to the bill, which meant that the money being distributed to victims couldn’t be used for abortions. Republicans said this was totally normal, but Democrats pointed out that the funds in question weren’t coming from taxpayers (which is what Hyde usually refers to) but from fines on the traffickers. If Hyde suddenly applied to those fines, that would be an unprecedented expansion of its reach. Then there was disagreement, filibustering, and standstill in the Senate.
The compromise is this: there will be TWO funding pools. One that’s made of funds from criminal fines, and one that’s made of funds that were already appropriated by Congress for something related (Community Health Centers). The first one – the criminal fines – will be available to survivors for lots of things, but not health care. The second one – the other government funds – will be available for health care, but not for abortions. (That’s because they are taxpayer funds, so Hyde applies in its original form.)
“A compromise has finally been reached. It is not perfect, but I am heartened that the agreement provides dedicated funds that will support the health care needs of trafficking survivors… I will support this compromise, but not because I believe it is the best solution. I will vote aye because the survivors who have lost so much already and deserve our support on their own terms have told me that they can live with this compromise.” – Senator Patrick Leahy
So ultimately, 0% of the funds allocated by the bill will be available for abortions, but the expansion of Hyde was taken out, so everyone kinda got what they wanted. Politics is tricky that way.
[Sidebar – this whole thing was also complicated by the fact that the delay on this bill was preventing other important Senate business from occurring, like the confirmation proceedings for Loretta Lynch, the President’s nominee to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General. So political expediency may have played a role in this compromise. Whatever the reasoning was, it happened, and we’re glad the holdup is over.]
It’s a compromise. That’s politics. Now it’s time to pass it and get survivors the help they need.
Director of Operations
PS: There are some other options available if survivors do need abortions. There might be hoops to jump through, but it's possible. Here are some links to more information about that: