State senator: Denying abortions does a favor for human trafficking victims

‘When the … woman gets pregnant … they don’t use her anymore.’

By: - May 2, 2022 2:57 pm

State Sen. Ileana Garcia made remarks about why she voting against exceptions to the 15-week abortion ban during an event on April 26, 2022, in Miami. Source: Screenshot/CBS News Miami.

A Florida Senate Republican has produced a novel explanation for refusing to include exemptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking in the state’s 15-week abortion ban: Pregnancy makes it harder for traffickers to exploit women.

In other words, Sen. Ileana Garcia told voters on April 26 in Miami, the women no longer would be a “commodity” and would be more likely to gain freedom.

“So human traffickers, as long as their commodity, which is the girls or the women, are not pregnant, they continue to use them. So, what we would like, as a matter of fact, we would like to see in the future is more of these entities like Planned Parenthood reporting these human traffickers because it’s a copy paste, repeat,” Garcia said, according to a video provided by CBS News Miami.

“When the girl or the woman gets pregnant, and they can’t make her get an abortion, or she doesn’t want to get an abortion, or they can’t get her to a place to get an abortion, they don’t use her anymore. So, they release her from the human trafficking ring. That is why we went to that point,” she added.

Garcia said she based that conclusion on her experience working for the Department of Homeland Security, where she “worked a lot on the human trafficking stuff.”

According to her campaign website, Garcia was the first Hispanic woman to serve as deputy press secretary at DHS. State lawmakers passed the restrictive abortion law during their 2022 regular session and Gov. Ron DeSantis approved it last month, without any of the exceptions.

Democratis pushed amendments to add those exceptions in vain.


Garcia’s comments sparked criticism from her opponent in her 2022 Florida state Senate race, Democratic House member Michael Grieco, who said in a written statement Sunday that her comments should “disqualify” her from serving in an elected office.

“Claiming that someone should be forced to carry a child to term because they would be less marketable as a commodity for their pimp is insane,” said Grieco, a Democrat representing part of Miami-Dade County.

“It is one of the most ridiculous things. … It’s a disgusting thing to say. It’s ignorant. I don’t know where it’s coming from. And the fact that somebody in an elected office could say something like that should disqualify them. It’s ridiculous.”

Human trafficking is defined as “the transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing or obtaining of another person for transport; for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation using force, fraud and/or coercion,” according to the Florida Department of Education.

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.