Author archives: Patrina Mosley

Women Deserve Better (Part 5): A Smarter Way to Fight Prostitution

by Patrina Mosley

November 1, 2019

This is the final part of a series on prostitution. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Some advocates who recognize persons in prostitution for who they really are—victims of sexual exploitation—support a position between legalization and decriminalization, called “partial decriminalization.” Under this legal model, the act of selling sex is no longer criminalized, but the buying of sex still carries heavy penalties in an effort to disincentivize demand.

This approach of criminalizing only the buying of sex is based on the Nordic model, which correctly understands prostitution to be sexual exploitation and asserts that criminalizing sex buying reduces the demand that drives sex trafficking. The name Nordic model refers to Sweden’s 1999 legislative change. Countries such as Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Ireland, and Israel have followed in Sweden’s footsteps.

Just recently, Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) introduced the bipartisan Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act, which contains a proposal—based on the Nordic model—that would amend the minimum standards of combatting sex trafficking (contained in the current Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000) to include language prohibiting the purchase of sex.

For a long time, our legal system penalized persons in prostitution, while mostly letting the purchaser (“Johns” ) go free. This imbalance has begun to change as our country becomes more aware of the issue of sex trafficking and how various forms of sexual exploitation are interconnected.  

Persons in prostitution are often not consenting, as the evidence shows. They are frequently the victims of abuse and manipulation. Many are minors (which is legally considered child sex trafficking) or persons who believe they have no other financial options.

The partial-decriminalization model treats both consenting and non-consenting persons as victims and only penalizes the buyers who are exploiting them. However, this approach still does not satisfy the “sex work” activists who believe that treating all persons in prostitution as victims stigmatizes consenting women. The “sex work” lobby (supported by liberal billionaire George Soros) demands society accept the buying and selling of sex as a legitimate profession for consenting adults.

Yes, some persons willingly sell sex for money and are not forced by a pimp to do so. Some treat it like a normal job, even asking for references from sex buyers before agreeing to engage! But the Chair of Demand Abolition, Swanee Hunt, says it best: “establishing exactly who at any given time is in the minority of adults ‘willingly’ selling their bodies is not a pragmatic or reliable exercise, and it is an insidious distraction from stopping the abuse of the great majority.”

Full or partial decriminalization of the sex trade would only further complicate the distinction between those who are “voluntary” versus the vast majority who are forced, coerced, manipulated, groomed, abused, and controlled with drugs to perform.

New Laws Will Not Solve the Problem of Sin

Although there is much is to be explored with partial decriminalization, neither it, full decriminalization, or legalization preserves the sacredness of sex nor acknowledges the inherent sinfulness of humanity as a barrier to eliminating sexual exploitation. Partial decriminalization may reduce the demand, but it will not eliminate sex buying. Partial decriminalization says sex is a commodity to be sold, and it is not. We must not take the elitist position of thinking that prostitution is “okay” for “some” people.

We agree with Nordic Model Now on this point: “We do not accept prostitution as the answer for the poor and disadvantaged, for recent migrants, for single mothers, for women and children. Or indeed for anyone.”

In the Vita Nostra in Ecclesia blog post, “Trading in Human Bodies and Lives,” the author articulates a biblical sexual ethic that should be at the foundation of combating sexual exploitation:

The trading in sex is objectively and inherently contrary to the dignity and truth of the nature of the human person, as well as the truth of the sex act itself.  It advances the lie that sex is for personal satisfaction alone, and instead of a positive sexuality that is authentically human, it fosters a negative sexuality that is utilitarian and mechanistic.”

Laws encouraging wrong behavior never lead to the right outcomes. No country that legalized, decriminalized, or partially decriminalized sex buying has seen sex buying eliminated. Neither have the persons in prostitution enjoyed the protections and order such policies were allegedly supposed to bring them. No matter how you slice it, the sex industry is a business that thrives off the sinfulness of humanity, and there is no cure for that sinfulness except the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has the power to change people from the inside out. As humanity exercises free will, it is inevitable that evil things will continue to happen in this world. Until Christ returns, we are called to act with justice, love, mercy, and to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). In applying that principle to our justice system, an attainable goal is to create a system that can benefit as many victims as possible and prosecute as many perpetrators as possible.

Working Toward Restorative Justice

As we pursue mercy and justice, a legal model that will benefit women and society is a model that not only supports the non-commodity of sex but also emphasizes restorative justice.

Our laws should recognize the procuring or pimping of any individual as the facilitation of sex trafficking. Penalties for such actions should reflect the gravity of the injustice. Family Research Council supports the bipartisan Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act. We affirm that prostitution and sex trafficking are inseparably linked, and one cannot be serious about combating sex trafficking if one is unwilling to go after the buyers that drive the commercial sex industry. (Learn more by reading Reduce the Demand for Sex Trafficking by Going After the Buyers and Sting Sex Trafficking at the Source… Its Buyers.)

Persons in prostitution are often accustomed to a lifestyle of addiction, acts of crime, violence, and homelessness. They often do not see themselves as victims due to the successful grooming and manipulation of their pimps/traffickers. Such individuals would benefit from restorative justice efforts like Ohio’s “CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court” in Franklin County. Adults charged with prostitution have the option of entering this two-year restorative program. If participants complete the program, the charges against them are dropped—an essential component for starting one’s life over again. Persons with a criminal record face many obstacles that prevent them from re-establishing themselves into society. A paper published by the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation at Villanova University, titled “Relief from Collateral Consequences of Prostitution-related Convictions: A Blueprint,” explores this in greater depth.

CATCH Court is changing lives by helping women who have been arrested for prostitution rather than condemning them. “The court views them as victims, not as criminals.” These women are getting clean, finding sobriety, escaping their exploiters, and starting over. More practical alleviations should be introduced to restore those in prostitution back into normal society, thereby lowering the recidivism rate and their risk for being exploited all over again. We need more programs like CATCH Court.

Restorative programs for convicted sex buyers, called “John” schools, have also been instituted across multiple cities. These programs are designed to teach offenders how their behavior is both dangerous and exploitative. According to Demand Abolition, “There are now over 60 separate john school programs in the U.S. that serve well over 100 cities and counties.” You can see a full list here.

A Better Way Forward

In conclusion, we should not enable the sexual exploitation industry in any way. Instead, Christians should bear witness that the buying and selling of human bodies for sex is outside God’s design and carries destructive consequences, seen and unseen. We need more Christian-based programs that rescue, advocate, re-educate, and restore those harmed by sexual exploitation.

Legalizing, decriminalizing, or partially decriminalizing the selling of sex is not a good way forward, nor a way forward at all. The better way forward is teaching the culture to value human dignity, applying a biblical sexual ethic, inspiring women to see themselves as made in the image of God—with strength, worth, and dignity—and for our laws to apply practical alleviations to victims of sexual exploitation.

Women Deserve Better (Part 4): Legitimizing Prostitution Will Not Make It Safer

by Patrina Mosley

October 17, 2019

This is Part 4 of a series on prostitution. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Sex work” advocates say that legalization would make prostitution safer and healthier because states could require sex workers and buyers to use condoms and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They believe that criminalizing the act of selling sex only increases stigma and causes sex workers to avoid sexual health services.

These “sex work” advocates misplace the application of justice—they are more preoccupied with overcoming stigma than with alleviating exploitation. The evidence clearly demonstrates that, contrary to what they argue, legalizing prostitution would not make those caught up in prostitution healthier or safer. The only parties who would stand to benefit are the exploiters who buy and sell human beings.

There is no reason to believe that decriminalizing prostitution would result in better sexual health. Having multiple sexual partners is not criminalized, yet STD cases are at an all-time high, according to the latest Center For Disease Control report. Undoing criminal penalties for selling sex will not reduce STDs or make persons in prostitution any healthier than those within the 2.4 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia recently—only abstinence and keeping sex within the confines of a committed marriage will do this. Imagine what the STD rate would be if the sex trade is legalized and new clients enter a market in which bans are lifted? A 2018 study surveyed 8,000 American men and found that over 20 percent of respondents who had never bought sex before said that they would if it was decriminalized or legalized.

Legalizing prostitution with the requirement of wearing condoms has not proven to increase the safety of persons caught up in prostitution. One study of Australian communities with legalized or fully-decriminalized brothel-based prostitution reveals that sex buyers still encourage one another, and pressure prostituted persons, to not use condoms. The study notes:

Sex buyers frame unsafe sex practices as both an expected part of the sexual encounter and as a feature of the brothel experience that women are expected to be comfortable with and acquiesce to [emphasis added]. When women are reported as showing signs that they are uncomfortable about unprotected sex, or require more payment to perform it, punters construct the experience in negative terms.

Requirements placed on exploiters (brothel owners, pimps, and traffickers) and persons caught up in prostitution would only protect the consumers, not the victims who will encounter buyers with pre-existing STDs and/or other health hazards. To think that exploiters would be transformed into law-abiding entrepreneurs complying with inspections and regulations—especially when it impedes the ability to increase profit—is dangerously naive.

An extensive evaluation of the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands was coordinated by the Dutch Ministry of Justice. They found that licensed brothels did not welcome frequent regulatory inspections. And the Netherlands, which has some of the most liberal prostitution laws in the world, is viewed as the country “where anything goes with regard to prostitution” (pg.12)! The Netherlands is also well known for the facilitation of human trafficking. Because of the general unwillingness to comply with even liberal restrictions, the Dutch police has had to dedicate an entire unit just for inspection enforcements. “The feeling in the prostitution sector is that licensed businesses are inspected more often than non-licensed businesses. This situation undermines the willingness of owners of licensed businesses to adhere to the rules and complicates the combat against trafficking in human beings” (pg. 11).

Even countries like New Zealand must acknowledge that their decision to decriminalize prostitution did not improve “working conditions” for prostituted persons: “New Zealand’s Prostitution Law Review Committee found that a majority of prostituted persons felt that the decriminalization act “could do little about violence that occurred” (pg. 14). The Committee further reported that abusive brothels did not improve conditions for prostituted individuals; the brothels that ‘had unfair management practices continued with them’ even after the decriminalization.”

Decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution would not make those caught up in prostitution healthier or safer. It would only benefit the exploiters and make the state a collaborator in the exploitation of women and children. Such policies say to pimps and traffickers, “We’ve got your back” and to victims, “Good luck out there!” Laws are inherently meant to discourage certain types of behavior, and good laws promote the right types of behavior. Enabling organized sexual exploitation only succeeds in inviting more crime and exploitation in other forms, devaluing women and children, and legitimizing the buying and selling of human beings for pleasure.

Stay tuned for Part 5, which will take a more in-depth look at the path forward for going after the perpetrators of sexual exploitation.

Women Deserve Better (Part 3): How Legitimizing Prostitution Empowers Exploitation

by Patrina Mosley

October 16, 2019

This is Part 3 of a series on prostitution. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Prostitution. It is a profession allegedly as old as time. Since it will always exist, why not make it better? Or so say the “sex work” advocates and progressive politicians who push for either the decriminalization or legalization of prostitution. But both approaches are misguided.

To most of us, decriminalization and legalization might sound like the same thing. But in this context, decriminalization refers to removing government penalties for prostitution, while legalization refers to removing government penalties and imposing a regulatory structure on sex work (while something can be legalized and unregulated and also remain illegal, and civil penalties—as opposed to criminal penalties—can apply, that’s not what we are talking about here). While decriminalization and legalization are not the same thing, they are alike in that they hurt the very people they claim to protect.

According to Villanova’s Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, the decriminalization of prostitution “decriminalizes the sale of sex, decriminalizes the purchase of sex, and does not impose a legal scheme to regulate the commercial sex industry.” To decriminalize something means that it is no longer a crime to do that thing. Simply put, the decriminalization of prostitution means it would no longer be a crime to participate in the buying and selling of human beings for sex.

The District of Columbia is currently considering legislation that would fully decriminalize the sex trade in D.C. This means pimping, purchasing sex, and operating brothels would no longer be crimes in the nation’s capital.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 would decriminalize the sex trade, thereby enabling exploiters of women and youth and exacerbating sex trafficking within the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia metro area (locally referred to as the DMV area). Law enforcement would have no right to interfere with acts such as pimping, purchasing sex, and operating brothels, further isolating victims who are under pimp or trafficker control.

Rhode Island experimented with decriminalization in 1980 but eventually reversed course in 2009. Why? Because the state had transformed into a sex tourism destination and a hub for trafficking, violence, and crime. “The lack of law criminalizing or regulating commercial sex acts allowed for the growth of sex businesses in Rhode Island. By 2002, Providence was known as ‘New England’s red-light district.’ The lack of laws controlling prostitution impeded police from investigating and stopping serious crimes and prevented officials from arresting pimps, traffickers, and sex buyers.”

As our friends at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation encapsulate it:

Full decriminalization of prostitution, in which the laws regulating the activities of pimps, sex buyers and sellers are eliminated, represents the most egregious response to the commercial sex trade. Such an approach transforms pimps into entrepreneurs and sex buyers into mere customers. While decriminalization may redefine deviant and criminal behavior, it is incapable of transforming pimps into caring individuals who have the best interests of prostituting persons at heart, or metamorphosing sex buyers into sensitive, thoughtful, and giving sexual partners. Decriminalization of prostitution is powerless to change the essential, exploitive nature of commercial sex, and tragically grants it free rein.

The legalization of prostitution, on the other hand, “legalizes the sale of sex, legalizes the purchase of sex, and creates a legal scheme to regulate the commercial sex industry.” Like decriminalization, legalizing something means it is no longer a crime to do that thing. Unlike decriminalization, such acts would be regulated under the law. Several counties in Nevada have made prostitution legal and have laws that regulate the trade. These regulations cover brothel inspections and STD testing, among other things. New York recently considered decriminalizing certain statues related to the sex trade and legalizing other parts of the sex trade to, as they saw it, “bring [persons in prostitution] out of the shadows and ensure that they are protected.”

How does empowering the business of exploitation “protect” anyone? With everything we know about the abuse and violence that characterizes the commercial sex trade, equating unobstructed exploitation with victim protection is just as absurd as saying, “since many of those who endure rape feel the stigma of shame, let’s remove all penalties for rape and legitimize it so they won’t feel shame.”

No sensible person would say such a thing. “Protecting” victims by removing the stigma of exploiting them makes no sense whatsoever. Not seeing persons caught up in prostitution as what they are—victims of sexual exploitation—will misplace the application of justice. Legitimizing the buying and selling of human beings only makes it easier for pimps and traffickers to groom vulnerable women, boys, and girls into thinking that sexual violence is normal and acceptable.

Prostitution in the Netherlands is legal and regulated. The Dutch government legalized prostitution in 2000, and the entire community has felt the negative impact ever since. You can read numerous articles about the objectification and crowding prevalent in Amsterdam’s red-light district, known as “the capital of prostitution.” Prostitution has become so mainstream there that women stand in brothel windows like products to be bought. Yes, they are attracting customers, but now the district has become “the biggest free attraction park in the whole of Amsterdam,” as tourists come to gawk and snap pictures of the women for sale. Amsterdam is continually breaking up the organized crime that the business of the sex trade often attracts. The dehumanization of women, paired with the lack of effort to provide women with better options, has created problems on top of problems.

[ Watch: The Failure of Legalizing Prostitution in The Netherlands ]

One article put it bluntly: “The Dutch approach to prostitution is largely practical: sex work will always exist, so better for everyone to legalise, control and tax it.”

Persons caught up in prostitution will admit, “I don’t like it (selling my body), but I have to.” Kristina has been working in the red-light district for a decade. She was persuaded to come by a Hungarian friend who had found her fortune in Amsterdam’s seedy sex industry. “I’m saving for my two kids. For their future. They’re with my mother in Hungary. My kids don’t know what I do.”

So now, by legalizing and regulating the sex trade, the presiding government functions as Kristina’s pimp by exploiting an exploitation business for tax revenue—a never-ending cycle of exploitation. Advocates for sex trafficking victims in New York told CBS News that “Most often [legalizing prostitution] increases sex trafficking…If you legalize, you are condoning brothels to become businesses and pimps to become business managers. That’s what we’ve seen around the world. The argument about safety is false.”

Seeking to protect vulnerable individuals by either decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution is a misguided notion. The laissez-faire approach to protecting human dignity will always create more problems, not solutions.

Stay tuned for Part 4, which will examine whether or not decriminalization or legalization would make the prostitution industry safer and healthier.

Reduce the Demand for Sex Trafficking by Going After the Buyers

by Patrina Mosley

September 20, 2019

Recently, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) introduced the bipartisan Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act, which would amend the minimum standards of combatting sex trafficking (contained in the current Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000) to include language prohibiting the purchase of sex.

This change would specifically target the buyers of sex. As Demand Abolition, a research organization dedicated to eradicating the commercial sex industry, puts it, “[s]ex buyers drive the illegal sex trade. Without their money, pimps and traffickers have zero incentives. No buyers = no business.” Demand Abolition’s research Who Buys Sex? found that U.S. sex buyers spend more than $100 per transaction on average.

As stated in the bill’s findings, “[r]esearch has shown that legal prostitution increases the demand for prostituted persons and thus increases the market for sex. As a result, there is a significant increase in instances of human trafficking.”

Thus, the bill declares that “if a government has the authority to prohibit the purchase of commercial sex acts but fails to do so, it shall be deemed to have failed to make serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts.”

Passage of this bill would be an excellent step towards curbing the demand for paid sex. By making the purchase of sex acts illegal, it would implement a part of the Nordic model of combating commercial sexual exploitation. This model has proved successful in countries such as Sweden (which pioneered the model), Norway, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Canada, France, Ireland, and most recently, Israel. One of the model’s aims is to change the culture’s perception of certain behaviors and actions as unacceptable. Buying human beings is one such behavior the model discourages, and it does so by creating criminal sanctions for the buying of human beings.

You can check out my previous blog, How Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Are Inseparably Linked, for more information on what research has shown us on this subject. The Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act references a key piece of research that analyzed 150 countries and found that, on average, countries with legal prostitution experienced higher reports of human trafficking.

Efforts to combat sex trafficking should combine with efforts to combat prostitution. Both are businesses that profit through the buying and selling of human beings for sex. The Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Act is a crucial step in positively shaping our country’s culture and re-affirming the human dignity of women, boys, and girls who are being bought and sold.

What the New Guttmacher Report Tells Us About Chemical Abortion

by Patrina Mosley

September 20, 2019

Abortion research hub the Guttmacher Institute has released its latest report on the trends and incidence of abortion in the United States. This abortion surveillance report covers abortion occurrences from 2014-2017 and documents what we’ve seen consistently: abortion rates are in decline, but the percentage of chemical abortions continues to rise.

The trend continues, with the abortion rate dropping to its lowest point since 1973 at 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women for 2017, dropping eight percent since 2014. In 2014, the abortion rate was 14.6.

The estimated total number of abortions for the year 2017 was 862,320, and 339,640 of those were chemical abortions, which means they accounted for approximately 39 percent of all abortions. That’s a 25 percent increase in the use of chemical abortions (the report refers to them as “medication abortions”) from 2014!

Unsurprisingly, abortion advocates and Guttmacher have attributed the steady decline of abortions to contraceptive use, abortion facility closures, and pro-life protections – never to women choosing better options and rejecting the disempowerment of abortion. But this report added a second layer to their reasoning: “[I]ncreases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed abortions outside of a clinical setting.”

What does that mean? It means that Guttmacher is attempting to account for women who are performing their own chemical abortions at home. This type of abortion cannot, for obvious reasons, be accounted for through traditional methods of abortion reporting.

The report admits that the majority of “medication abortions” were seen in clinics for the year 2017. But the percentage of abortion clinics reporting that they “had seen one or more patients for a missed or failed abortion due to self-induction” increased from 12 percent in 2014 to 18 percent in 2017.

The questionnaire used to collect this data changed from the year 2014 to 2017. The 2014 survey question asked whether “any patients had been treated for missed or failed abortions due to self-induction and if so, how many?” For 2017, the questionnaire removed the yes/no screener and only asked for the total number of patients treated for missed or failed self-managed abortions. Only 55 percent of abortion facilities (808) responded, but the report states that 106 facilities (seven percent) answered, “I don’t know.” The survey concluded that an “I don’t know” response meant the facility was unsure what they were treating – self-induced abortions or miscarriages – so the data here is sure to be incomplete.

It is also not unheard of that illegal abortion pill peddlers have encouraged women to lie and say they’ve had a miscarriage when going to an emergency room or clinic for follow up on complications.

According to one study, women who undergo chemical abortions experience roughly four times the rate of complications compared to women who underwent surgical abortions.

So, if 18 percent of these women were seeking follow-up care at an abortion clinic, then the question is: where were these women getting abortion pills in the first place?

It is reported that some Texas women have walked over the border to Mexico to purchase one portion of the abortion pill regimen, misoprostol, which is available without a prescription there.

What is even more shocking from this report is the implied support for the sale of illegal abortion pills from outliers like Aid Access:

More recently, drugs similar to those used in the U.S. medication abortion regimen—a highly effective combination of mifepristone and misoprostol—have become available on the internet, as have websites providing accurate information about how to safely and effectively self-manage abortion using drugs obtained outside of a clinical setting. In particular, Aid Access, an international organization that provides medication abortion pills via mail order to people living in the United States, launched their website in March 2018 (after the study period) and reported filling 2,500 prescriptions in that year. The majority of patients obtaining abortions are poor or low-income, many lack health insurance that will cover the procedure, and many live in states with numerous abortion restrictions.

These factors, along with the increased accessibility of resources to help individuals safely self-manage their abortions outside of a clinical setting, likely account for some of the decline in abortions that we have documented.”

This is the same Aid Access that the FDA instructed to cease dispensing abortion pills and comply with their drug safety procedures through the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), which essentially prohibits the distribution of the abortion pill regimen by mail or online.

Aid Access has pursued a lawsuit against the FDA. Aid Access is no doubt just another pawn of the abortion industry in their efforts to get the REMS lifted and have abortion pills accessible over-the-counter.

The abortion pill carries severe risks such as hemorrhage, infection, retained fetal parts, the need for emergency surgery, and even death. An incomplete abortion can occur up to 10 percent of the time; a chemical abortion is nothing to play with and should not be “self-managed.”

A total of 4,195 adverse effects from chemical abortions were reported from 2000 to 2018, including 24 deaths, 97 ectopic pregnancies, 1,042 hospitalizations, 599 blood transfusions, and 412 infections (including 69 severe infections). These are just the adverse events reported to the FDA, so the data is certain to be incomplete.

In spite of these devastating realities, the abortion industry proudly admits that their ultimate goal for the future of abortion in the United States is “self-management.”

Abortion advocates claimed that legalized abortion would eliminate “do it yourself” abortions! Now they want to return to the days of “back-alleys,” this time with “chemical coat-hangers.” This business model places the heavy burden and liability of abortion on the women and not on the abortion industry themselves.

At first, Guttmacher seems to suggest that the apparent decrease in abortion rates is not a true decrease at all, but rather an increase in unreported, self-induced abortions. But after dedicating an entire section of the report to analyzing what it calls “medication” and “self-managed” abortions, Guttmacher concludes the report by backtracking its earlier assessment, saying it is “unlikely” that unreported abortions could account for most of the decline.

No matter what the abortion industry’s propaganda might say, the real reason abortion rates are in decline is that women are choosing life, and pregnancy resource centers providing life-affirming care—often at no cost to the women—are prevailing.

After 17 Years, Infants Born Alive Still Need Real Protection

by Patrina Mosley

August 5, 2019

Today (August 5th) marks the 17th anniversary of the passage of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act of 2002, which declared that infants born alive after having survived an abortion attempt deserve all the rights and care that would be given to any other infant. After the bill easily passed Congress, most Americans no doubt assumed there would never again be a debate over whether infants born alive after a failed abortion attempt should be offered life-saving care. Yet here we are again.

Democratic politicians have gone from “safe, legal, and rare” in the 1990’s, to the “my body, my choice” mantra, to now basically, “if you like your baby, you can keep your baby.” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam seemingly endorsed infanticide, and Virginia Rep. Kathy Tran awkwardly tried to advance legislation that would allow for abortion up till the day of birth. If you call something evil (abortion) “good” for long enough, it will eventually be taken to its furthest extreme.

We are witnessing the Left’s reaction to what is arguably the most pro-life administration in modern history.

Protecting the unborn has been one of President Trump’s greatest successes. President Trump has nominated constitutional originalist judges to the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts, overseen the creation of a new pro-life conscience protection division at HHS, put a stop to American tax dollars funding international abortions more than any other president (the expanded Mexico City Policy), eliminated grants for research involving fetal tissue, decoupled Title X Family Planning Funds from abortion facilities, and more.

All this has made the abortion cult angry—even to the point where they are willing to ignore pro-choice voters

For the first time ever, New York legalized on-demand abortions up to the day of birth, even repealing born-alive protections for infants who survive an abortion. But two-thirds (66 percent) of New York voters say they oppose a law allowing late-term abortion. Also, Rhode Island’s legislature expanded abortion protections by declaring it a fundamental right and blocked a bill that would provide full protections for infants born-alive if they survive an abortion attempt. Yet, 77 percent of Rhode Island voters oppose allowing abortions up until birth. Specifically, 63 percent of Democrat voters (an almost two-thirds majority) and 56 percent of voters who self-identify as pro-choice oppose late-term abortions.

According to an Americans United for Life/YouGov Survey, 77 percent of pro-choice Americans oppose removing medical care for a viable child.

Even pro-choice, Democratic voters are not so willing to say it’s okay to leave a child on the table and wait for them to die, while the doctor and mother discuss whether or not they want the child to live.

It has become clear that stronger protections are needed. Currently, there is no federal criminal statute against taking the lives of born-alive infants. This is why we need The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It would require lifesaving medical care be given to babies born alive after failed abortion attempts and would add enforcement tools to prosecute doctors who deny life-saving medical care to infants who survive abortion. This act has been blocked more than 70 times by Congressional House Democrats. There has not been a single federal prosecution brought against an abortionist since this law was passed, even though the CDC admits that at least 143 infants died after surviving abortion.

Democratic governors have vetoed state versions of the bill in North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Montana.

But on the bright side, in states like North Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, and Nevada, Democrats of color crossed over to vote with Republicans for born-alive protections. After all, the African-American community is the primary target of the abortion industry, and many of color in positions of power are acknowledging that.

It’s been a bewildering time in the abortion debate between what voters say they want and what Democratic legislators are pushing down their throats, but moreover, it is exceptionally disturbing for those who have actually survived abortion attempts to essentially be told that their lives don’t matter as legislators continue to block born-alive protections.  

Abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden, Josiah Presley, and Claire Culwell are living today simply because someone acted with compassion to save their lives. These are living, breathing people whose lives matter to their adoptive families, the spouses they’ve married, the children they’ve raised, and the friendships they’ve developed.

This is why we need to secure a vote on The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act by having members of Congress sign on to the discharge petition which would force a floor vote on the bill, regardless of Democratic leadership of the House. Perhaps by getting a vote on The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, we can start to rebuild the road back to human rights and human dignity.

In the meantime, please join FRC’s End Birth Day Abortion campaign to show your support for the life of all babies born alive by sending a baby hat to Congress. 

Planned Parenthood Rejects Title X and Proves Their Bottom Line Is Abortions

by Patrina Mosley , Connor Semelsberger

July 22, 2019

As a result of the ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit lifting a preliminary injunction on the Protect Life Rule, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced they will begin enforcing new regulations governing the Title X Family Planning Program. In response Planned Parenthood, as well as several states and other abortion providers, have decided to withdraw from the program rather than comply with the new regulations.

This marks the first time that Congress has ever been able to successfully shift domestic federal family planning funds away from abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The response from Planned Parenthood and others shows that they have only one thing on their mind—abortion. Even though these new regulations mandate that clinics provide non-directive counseling for women on all options when faced with a pregnancy—including abortion—they still refuse to comply.

The refusal of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to abide by federal laws regarding the separation between federal tax dollars and abortion is nothing new. This withdrawal is very similar to when in the early days of his presidency, President Donald Trump instituted the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy (PLGHA) which ensures taxpayer dollars are not used for abortions overseas. Instead of abiding by the requirement that grantees are not allowed to promote or perform abortions, the International Planned Parenthood Federation became one of only four grantees that perform abortions to back out of the program over the policy change.

In 2017, President Trump even made an offer to then Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards that her organization could continue to receive federal funds as long as they committed to no longer performing abortions, and she responded with this: “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion—a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.”

If Planned Parenthood truly cared about offering women the other “care” services they claim to provide, they would have had no problem complying. But their refusal to receive grant money to “care” for women by providing other services besides abortion only goes to show that abortion is their bottom line—not the “3 percent” like they claim.

Abortions from Planned Parenthood have increased while their “other services” have consistently decreased. From 2009 to 2014, breast exams at Planned Parenthood dropped by over half (56 percent), cancer screening and prevention programs at Planned Parenthood consistently decreased and dropped by close to two-thirds (63 percent), and prenatal services steadily decreased and dropped by more than half (57 percent). Planned Parenthood performs 18 times more abortions than the prenatal services it provides. Moreover, according to Planned Parenthood’s 2016-2017 report, out of total services for pregnant women (adoption referrals, prenatal services, abortion), abortion made up over 97 percent.

As of late, newly fired Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen alluded to the fact that her and the Planned Parenthood Board of Director’s philosophy dissected at abortion versus being a robust healthcare entity. The Board wanted abortions and abortion advocacy to be what drives the organization.

This goal is reflected in the fact that Planned Parenthood currently operates over half of all abortion facilitates in the U.S.

For far too long, Title X funds have been entangled with the abortion industry—particularly with Planned Parenthood who received nearly $60 million, all while the authorizing statutory language made it clear that the Title X family planning program must be separate from abortion.

Planned Parenthood has proven itself to be unfaithful with Title X anyways. In order to receive these annual grants, Planned Parenthood and other organizations are expected to comply with state mandatory reporting laws. Planned Parenthood has repeatedly been caught failing to report statutory rape and sex abuse, aiding and abetting sex trafficking, and performing services that it knows are dangerous and low-quality, killing young women such as Tonya Reaves and Cree Erwin.

The new Title X regulations not only enforces the physical separation of Title X activities and abortion centers but it also strengthens the enforcement of Title X recipients’ to be in compliance with mandatory reporting requirements and parental notification laws.

We are thankful Planned Parenthood has decided not to comply with the Protect Life Rule. This disentangles taxpayer dollars with the abortion business, keeps the integrity of the Title X program in place, and frees up resources to go to the other federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and pregnancy resource centers that both outnumber abortion facilities and provide true comprehensive care for women.

It is high time for Planned Parenthood to get out of the family planning business anyway.

Abortion is not healthcare, nor is it family planning.

Women Deserve Better (Part 2): How Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Are Inseparably Linked

by Patrina Mosley

July 11, 2019

This is Part 2 of a series on prostitution. Read Part 1.

There is a very thin line between prostitution and sex trafficking. They are hardly distinguishable in operation, but one is more complicated to prove by law.

Let’s define some terms.

Prostitution is the exchange of sexual activity for money or anything of value (drugs, shelter, etc.).

The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which amended the definition of the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), defines sex trafficking as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not obtained 18 years of age.”

Under the TVPA, coercion is defined as: “threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.”

Who are the pimps and traffickers? They are the facilitator(s) or person(s) using force, fraud, or coercion for commercial sexual exploitation and collaborators who benefit financially.

According to USLegal.com, “Pimps are people who procures [sic] a prostitute for customers or vice versa, and takes [sic] a portion of the profits from the sexual activities. Supposedly he provides protection for the prostitutes, but quite often he will threaten, brutalize, rape, cheat and induce drug addiction of the prostitutes. A pimp is guilty of the crime of pandering. A pimp is someone who brokers the sexual favors of women for profits.”

Prostitution and sex trafficking operate the same way. There is recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, and soliciting of a person for sex. When it comes to proving force, fraud, or coercion, that largely depends on evidence and testimony. What woman will say they are a victim of trafficking when their very lives or family’s lives are threatened or if they have fear of leaving the lifestyle they have become accustomed to?

The Many Sides of Coercion

In one Chicago study, 43 percent of young women who were currently under the control of a pimp/trafficker “said they could not leave without physical harm.” Often, victims see their pimp/trafficker as a boyfriend and there is fear of ending the romantic relationship. It is not unusual for victims to be trafficked by a boyfriend, a male friend, or a family member. Females can also be traffickers and pimps.

In 2016, San Diego County conducted a study about the pimps and traffickers in that county. The study provided keen insight into the common characteristics of those being coerced with these findings:

  • Psychological coercion (defined as “social and emotional isolation, induced emotional exhaustion, and degradation, including humiliation, denial of the victim’s power, and name-calling”) and economic coercion (taking 50 percent or more of prostituted person’s earnings) were primary means sex traffickers employ for controlling victims.
  • Pimps reported an average income of $670,625.
  • Researchers determined that middle schools and high schools were significant/frequent places for recruiting girls who become victims of sexual exploitation, and not just in low-income neighborhoods.

Traffickers and pimps prey on women and children who have a history of abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, running away from home, homelessness, lack of education, or other emotional vulnerabilities. They lure them in with promises of meeting some type of need, whether it be economical, emotional, or both. Pimps/traffickers groom their victims to the point where they have control over them psychologically. Often, this is done by introducing drugs as well, which can cause the victims to become addicted and dependent on the pimp to keep them high and locked into the lucrative sex trade to support their new habit.

In that same Chicago study, 29 percent said they were provided drugs to encourage addiction and 23 percent reported drugs were withheld by the pimp to coerce them into prostitution.

According to a 2013 study of 150 countries, sex trafficking increased in the countries where prostitution was legal.

The idea that sex trafficking is involuntary prostitution and prostitution is willing “sex work” is false. The elements are the same except no one is willing to say an underage girl that she is a working professional prostitute—instead, we shout, “sex trafficking.” If she is 18 and above, is she automatically a willing prostitute? The Archives of Sexual Behavior notes: “In a review of reports on adults in prostitution, 84% were trafficked or under pimp control. The numbers of women who choose prostitution from a position of safety, equality, and genuine alternatives is minimal. O’Connell Davidson (1998, p. 5) noted that only a ‘tiny minority of individuals’ choose prostitution because of the ‘intrinsic qualities of sex work.’ Prostitution has to do with one person’s sexual desires and the other person’s economic needs. The money coerces the performance of sex.”

The operation of prostitution is by default coercion in its transactional nature.

Modern-Day Sex Trafficking and Prostitution

Sex trafficking and prostitution rings are way more advanced and sophisticated today than they were 20 year ago. Today, recruitment and transactions largely take place online through social media accounts, the dark web, and ad listings sites such as Craigslist and Backpage. Before the FBI seizure of Backpage, it was the most popular site for traffickers and pimps to trade off their victims. The average age of recruitment for prostitutes is 14 and the average age of pimps and traffickers are between the ages of 18-34. We have become a generation that are exploiting ourselves.

This May in D.C., as efforts to decriminalize prostitution began to wane, local police made arrests in a major human trafficking case involving teenagers:

Terrell Armstead had an Instagram hashtag “#TeamSupreme” for his prostitution business, according to court documents. He used it to advertise a commercial sex business, posting videos and images of money and luxury goods with the caption “Who wants to join TeamSupreme.”

Detectives allege he would direct message teenage girls, telling them they could make $1,000 a day working in strip clubs and arranging sex dates with customers inside…Among the evidence is a text from one of the young women to Armstead saying, “I only made 200 so far.” He replied, “It’s only 9 I got faith that you’ll get 800 more at least.”

D.C. Councilmember David Grosso, who for the second time introduced the bill to decriminalize prostitution, said:

It is long past time for D.C. to reconsider the framework in which we handle commercial sex, and move from one of criminalization to a new approach that focuses on human rights, health and safety.

As reported:

He was surrounded by several people holding signs. One read, “Everyone Deserves to Feel Safe in Their Work,” while another said, “Sex Workers Matter.”

You cannot combat sex trafficking while trying to legalize prostitution. It makes no sense when the two are essentially the same. And, how in the world does legal prostitution equal human rights? Whose rights? Prostitution is driven by a male clientele who take advantage of other human beings, who are overwhelmingly comprised of women and children who are used for pleasure. To say that prostitution is a human right is by default saying men have a right to use women’s body as a commodity. Why weren’t there signs that said, “Women’s lives matter,” “My body is not a commodity,” or “I’m not for sale, I’m a person”?

Clinical psychologist and founder of Prostitution Research and Education, Dr. Melissa Farley and former prostitute and founder of SPACE International, Rachel Moran came to a clear and disturbing conclusion in their study “Consent, Coercion, and Culpability: Is Prostitution Stigmatized Work or an Exploitive and Violent Practice Rooted in Sex, Race, and Class Inequality?”:

In thousands of interviews, we have heard prostituted women, men, and transwomen describe prostitution as paid rape, voluntary slavery, signing a contract to be raped (in legal prostitution), the choice that is not a choice, and as domestic violence taken to the extreme.

It is ironic, and even cruel, to equate prostitution with “safety” and “human rights.” The sexual exploitation of others is not a right. It is appalling that even in the age of #MeToo, we have politicians who say “its long past time” that we approach paid sex as a human right instead of saying that it is long past time for the exploitation of women to end.

Stay tuned for Part 3, which will take a deeper look at the decriminalization and legalization of prostitution.

Minnesota Reports 3 Born-Alive Babies in 2018

by Patrina Mosley , Connor Semelsberger

July 3, 2019

Think babies aren’t being born alive after surviving an abortion attempt? Think again. From January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018, three babies in Minnesota survived abortions but later died, according to a new Minnesota state Department of Health report.

Since 2015, Minnesota has been keeping track of abortion survivors since the states’ passage of the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The law recognizes infants who survive abortions as human persons and requires that they be provided with reasonable medical care. The law also requires information to be collected on the medical actions taken to preserve the life of the infant, whether the infant survived, and the status of a surviving infant.

Since the law went into effect, Minnesota has reported 11 babies surviving abortions:

  • five babies in 2016
  • three babies in 2017
  • three babies in 2018

Laws to require the collection of data on born-alive victims should be encouraged in all states. There are only six states that require reporting on babies born alive during abortion procedures: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Texas. As of 2017, only Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oklahoma have reported this information.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control report at least 143 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2003 and 2014 in the U.S. The CDC took this data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) Mortality Data in regard to infant deaths. These numbers are different from the number collected by the states that report born-alive infants.

As a response to the lack of reporting on abortion and abortion survivors, U.S. Representatives Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) recently introduced The Ensuring Accurate and Complete Abortion Data Reporting Act of 2019 (H.R. 3580). This bill would require all states to submit abortion data, including the number of children who survive abortions, in order to receive Medicaid funds for family planning services.

The CDC already requests abortion reporting from states. However, the reporting of this information is voluntary, which allows states to leave out certain statistics or opt out altogether. Because there are only six states that require reporting on children who survive abortions, it is vital that the U.S. Congress passes this bill so that the American people know how many innocent lives are lost because of the failure to provide life-saving care to the most vulnerable.

Efforts to protect infants who survive abortion has not been limited to gathering a few data points, as Members of Congress continue to fight for a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962) which would require life-saving medical care for children born alive after abortion attempts. So far, Republicans have asked for unanimous consent to vote on this bill 67 times, and every single time Democrat leaders have said no.

Sometimes, a small symbol of humanity is all it takes to change the mind of our government officials. There is no better sign of the humanity of children who survive abortions then the soft, warm feel of the colorful baby hat given to newborns at hospitals, just like the ones in our End Birth Day Abortions Campaign. Every child deserves to wear a new baby hat, especially the three children who survived abortion attempts in Minnesota last year.

Prostitution: Women Deserve Better (Part 1)

by Patrina Mosley

June 20, 2019

One woman described her experience of the sex of prostitution very succinctly when she referred to it as: ‘Paid rape.’ … . another woman described it as ‘like signing a contract to be raped’ … I described prostitution as ‘being raped for a living.’” (National Center on Sexual Exploitation report)

In places like D.C. and New York, the possibility of decriminalizing prostitution has come back on the horizon. Activists are now referring to prostitution as “sex work”—a deceptive term used to label the buying and selling of human beings for sex as a legitimate profession. This concept was even being promoted to teenage girls in Teen Vogue, with the headline “Why Sex Work is Real Work.” To legitimize men buying women for sex is to say that men have a right to women’s bodies by default. This should enrage every feminist to the core and cause them to come clawing in like a mama bear on anyone who tells teen girls that “men buying your body is a legitimate profession for your future.”

The commercial sex trade is sexual exploitation—it should never be somebody’s job to be exploited by another human being.

That being said, we should not discount the various factors that play a part in leading some women to the commercial sex trade. Often, these women have been sexually abused, come from broken homes, face drug and alcohol addiction, and have been emotionally comprised, manipulated, lured, coerced, or forced into prostitution. To glamorize a system that preys upon these vulnerabilities and is only sustained by dehumanizing the individual is inherently evil.

In reality, there are no good arguments for why it is okay to buy and sell anyone for sex. In 2013, Business Insider published an article advocating for the decriminalization of prostitution in the United States. None of the arguments made back then have changed significantly to this day, and they are still used to spread current misconceptions about prostitution.

Would Legalizing Prostitution Reduce Violence Against Women?

No. A study published in the Journal of Trauma Practice indicates that violence is prevalent within the world of prostitution and tends to be multi-traumatic. The study contained 854 individuals (women, girls, and transgendered people) currently or recently in prostitution in nine countries (Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United States, and Zambia). According to the study (as reported by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation):

Some of those interviewed had been trafficked for the purpose of prostitution and were engaged in legal prostitution. Types and amount of violence experienced in prostitution are as follows:

  • 71% physically assaulted;
  • 57% raped; of those raped, 59% were raped more than 5 times;
  • 64% threatened with a weapon;
  • 88% verbal abuse;
  • 49% had pornography made of them;
  • 47% were upset by attempts to coerce them to perform something a sex buyer had seen in pornography;
  • In Germany, where prostitution is legal, 59% responded that prostitution is not safer with legalization;
  • 89% wanted to exit prostitution.
  • Equating prostitution with death, one woman stated, “Why commit suicide? I’ll work in prostitution instead (p. 53).”

The same study reported that 68 percent of women in prostitution met the criteria for PTSD.

Here are some more disturbing statistics from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s report:

  • Interviews of 100 individuals (females (42%), males (32%), and transgender males (26%)) involved in street-based prostitution in inner city Washington, D.C., found high incidents of violence. Since entering prostitution, 61% reported being physically assaulted, with the majority being perpetrated by sexual buyers (75%).”
  • A study of 106 women involved in street-based prostitution conducted in New York City reported types and amounts of violence experience while in prostitution included: Physical abuse (45.3%), Sexual abuse (34.9%), and Physical and sexual abuse (50.0%).”
  • An investigation into the mortality rate of women in prostitution revealed that the leading cause of death was homicide (19%) and found that actively prostituting women were nearly 18 times more likely to be murdered than women of similar age and race during the study interval.”

Dear Teen Vogue, does this sound like the type of “purchasing intimacy” you want girls to go into?

The Business Insider piece was shockingly written by a female who even acknowledged the violence perpetrated on women in prostitution by citing two studies, one from San Francisco where it was found that 82% of prostitutes “had been assaulted and 68% had been raped while working as prostitutes,” and another study in Colorado Springs that found prostitutes were “18 times more likely to be murdered than non-prostitutes their age and race”—yet the argument is made that because prostitution is illegal, these women can’t call for help when their hazardous “work” conditions are too dangerous.

Do any of these statistics sound like proper “work” for any individual? Why are women allowing other people to tell them that they should settle for this as “work”?

The answer is not to legitimize something bad so less bad things will happen, but to confront injustice with justice.

Prostitution clearly isn’t work, it’s paid violence against women.

Even a self-identified former prostitute and D.C. activist for legalizing prostitution shared her story of violence in the trade: “I myself am a former sex worker and faced violence that I couldn’t report to anyone. I have been stabbed several times, beaten and chased by a car. There were times I could have remembered license plates or at least reported the incidents; but because sex work is criminalized, these dangerous people, they’re still out there.”

Wrong. These people are still out there because we fail to prosecute buyers of sex and pimps as much as we do the women who prostitute.

Attitudes of Male Buyers Towards Prostitutes

After interviewing 16 women (aged 20-38) incarcerated for prostitution-related offenses, the authors noted:

Once a prostitute has consented to any exchange of sex for money, these women see many men as assuming that she has given up the right to refuse consent in any situation. Once her sexuality has been ‘purchased,’ her body ‘belongs’ to the purchaser to use. This was the constant theme in the interviews. Many women encountered men who treated their agreement to engage in some form of sex as permission to abuse the women’s bodies in any way they wished, as long as they gave the women monetary compensation.”

The study “Deconstructing The Demand for Prostitution: Preliminary Insights From Interviews With Chicago Men Who Purchase Sex” interviewed 113 self-reported male buyers face-to-face, recruited in advertisements in free publications and on Craigslist. Here are some of the findings:

  • 46% “purchased sex in order to obtain sex acts they either felt uncomfortable asking of their partner or which their partner refused to perform,” including oral and anal sex.
  • 43% said if they pay for sex, the woman should do anything they ask.
  • 13% “would rape a woman if they knew they could get away with it.”
  • 19% admitted to raping a woman.
  • 57% “believed that the majority of women in prostitution experienced some type of childhood abuse.”
  • 32% thought the majority of women had entered prostitution before the age of 18.
  • 20% “thought that they had bought sex from women who were trafficked from other countries.”
  • 75% have seen women with a pimp.
  • 40% knowingly bought a woman in prostitution who was under pimp/trafficker control.

Here are some verbatim comments from buyers:

She has no rights because you are paying for a sex act- she gives up the right to say no.”

…she gave up her rights when she accepted my money.”

Prostitutes are like a product, like cereal. You go to the grocery, pick the brand you want, and pay for it. It’s business.”

I almost killed a hooker because she tried to run off with my money and I wasn’t going to let her. I used the blunt side of the knife. She tried to leave the car. We struggled for awhile. I wanted to scare her, so I put the blunt side of the knife to her throat. Somehow there was blood, and she gave the money back. I left her lying down in the street. I didn’t even want the money no more.”

Stay tuned for a multi-part series to see how prostitution is linked to sex trafficking and the path forward for going after the perpetrators of sexual exploitation.

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