Moral Low Ground

US Government

House Republicans Rally to Support Child Sex Slavery and Rape

House Republicans, led by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Eric Cantor (R-VA), have successfully blocked passage of legislation aimed at preventing child marriage worldwide.

The bill, S.987, or the ‘International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act,’ passed unanimously– 100-0–  in the Senate but failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed for passage in the House of Representatives. It was defeated by a vote of 244-166. In doing so, House Republicans did nothing less than vote their approval of human trafficking, rape, pedophilia and child sexual slavery.

Said Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check: “Next time you see John Boehner cry, it will clearly not be for the plight of children in these situations.”

Some 60 million girls in developing countries were married while they were still children. That number is expected to increase by another 100 million if current trends continue. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who introduced the bill along with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), highlighted some of the tragic facts about child marriage:

“It deprives young girls – and sometimes boys – of their dignity and human rights.  In some countries, it is not uncommon for girls as young as seven or eight years old to be married. These young victims are robbed of their childhoods. In addition to denying tens of millions of women and girls their dignity, child marriage also endangers their health.  Marriage at an early age puts girls at greater risk of dying as a result of childbirth. Pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading cause of death for women 15 to 19 years old in developing countries.  Their children also face higher mortality rates.”

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) accurately portrayed child marriage as a form of sexual slavery:

“No girl who is 11, 12, 13 and 14 should be forced to marry a man years or decades older. Yet, millions of young girls in the world’s poorest countries are forced into marriage every year – sold and traded like a farm animal, raped by their husbands, and forced into lives of servitude and poverty.”

Furthermore, S.987, an authorizing bill, would have required absolutely no new funding. Sounds like a no-brainer vote, no? Not so fast.

Enter Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, best known for her support for Cuban exile terrorists like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. These two men were responsible for blowing up a Cuban commercial airliner in 1976, killing all 73 innocent passengers. Ros-Lehtinen lobbied for the release and pardon of Orlando Bosch and even helped organize an “Orlando Bosch Day” in Miami in 1983 that celebrated the murderous terrorist.

This time, Ros-Lehtinen sent a letter to her Congressional colleagues urging them to oppose S.987 on the misleading grounds that it would cost $108 million. What she failed to mention was that the bill contained no new funding. Ros-Lehtinen was joined by Eric Cantor (R-VA), best known for his pledge to Israel to serve that country’s interests over those of his own government. Cantor sent out a “whip alert” to Congressional Republicans urging them to vote “no” on S.987 over possible “pro-life” concerns, baffling the measure’s supporters.

Said RH Reality Check’s Jacobson: “This bill seeks to prevent children from being married and by extension from forcing young girls into sexual relations in a custom that is nothing but a blatant abuse of human rights.  I would think if you called yourself ‘pro-life’ you might well be interested in preventing the marriage of  [children].”

In an attempt to salvage the bill, Congresswoman McCollum circulated her own letter amongst her colleagues:

“I strongly urge my Democratic and Republican colleagues to vote today to pass the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act – S. 987.S. 987 passed the U.S. Senate unanimously and will be voted on today on the House floor. The choice on S. 987 is not difficult or controversial. The choice is between supporting a U.S. strategy to protect young girls from abuse, rape, and forced servitude OR opposing S. 987 while millions of children continue to be molested and enslaved. S. 987 will establish a strategy and interventions to prevent child marriage and protect girls.  It authorizes the use of existing State Department resources – there is no new spending authorized ($ZERO). Opposing S. 987 will send the message that the world’s only superpower will not make the effort to stop the violent abuse, rape, and slavery of millions of little girls. Protect the lives and futures of millions of girls and stop their abusers – I urge all my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to vote to pass S. 987.”

Congressman Durbin sadly concluded that:

“The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world. These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill.”

This shameful episode has received surprisingly little coverage in the mainstream corporate media. The more honest voices in the blogosphere are, however, voicing their outrage. Salmane Sadaani of the anti-trafficking Kroobe Blog ran the headline Congress OKs Pedophilia. This isn’t any stretch of the imagination. Said Jodi Jacobson: “I can only conclude from this and other actions of the Republican party and the so-called pro-life movement that indeed the lives of women and girls mean little to nothing. Otherwise, how could anyone advocate for defeat of a bill that would prevent children younger than my own 14-year-old from being forced into marriage, rape, and childbirth before she could even finish primary school.”

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