Jody Duffy, a former U.S. Army officer, is responding to a new bill Democrats in Congress have filed that would re-institute a Clinton-era policy that allowed abortions at taxpayer-funded U.S. military base hospitals.
Current law in effect since 1996 prohibits the performance of abortion by Department of Defense medical personnel or at DOD medical facilities. A separate provision prohibits the use of DOD funds for abortion except to save the life of the mother. But the MARCH for Military Women Act would lift the current bans and abortion advocates have tried for years to force military base hospitals to do abortions on female service members.
Duffy, a retreat leader for Rachel’s Vineyard, a post-abortion healing program that is part of Priests for Life, writes in a new opinion column in the Los Angeles Times that lawmakers should oppose the legislation.
I was a second lieutenant in the United States Army when I had an abortion. The pregnancy was the result of a date rape.
My abortion changed me. I was no longer the person I had been. I lost my identity and could not do my job effectively; eventually, I left the military and a career I had so much looked forward to. My healing from that experience came many years later. However, the scar will always be there.
As a team member and leader of Rachel’s Vineyard retreats for post-abortive mothers and fathers for the last 10 years, I have worked with women who also were serving in the military at the time of their abortions. I have seen the pain and anguish these women suffer as a result.
If the military is having such a critical problem with sexual assaults, then it ought to address that issue directly instead of simply reacting by providing taxpayer-funded abortions. Easier access to abortion is not the answer to the problem of sexual assault in the military. Abortion does not solve the problem of crisis pregnancy, rape or no rape. It only exacerbates it.
The military is about the mission. When a soldier — male or female — is involved in an abortion, the mission is compromised. Women and men can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder following an abortion. Symptoms can include self-isolation, sleep disorder, anger, depression, reduced motivation, alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal impulses, anxiety and loss of interest in daily activities of life. Post-abortive men and women can become abusive in relationships or tolerate abuse directed at them. Fear of failure and feelings of inferiority can result in a soldier not living up to his or her potential. Any number of situations a soldier experiences, especially combat, can trigger flashbacks to the abortion procedure. Reacting impulsively puts a soldier’s life and others at risk.
Pro-choice advocates often dismiss such tales of post-abortion stress. I know it’s real. I lived it, and I have worked with countless women who have had to deal with it.
I see nothing positive about providing abortions for military members. I see just the opposite. We already have a generation of soldiers at serious risk of suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. My fear is that providing abortions on military bases would put many of them at risk of suffering post-abortion stress disorder as well. How can that be good for the military? How can that be good for our country?
Some of the people who revile the killing of innocent children in war promote the killing of innocent children in the womb. Both are tragedies, and neither should be minimized or accepted. War is violent; so is abortion. Both result in death. Providing easy access and funding to abortion won’t solve the military’s crisis pregnancy problem. Awareness and education will.
Backers of the bill are using the issue of sexual assaults in the military as platform for pushing lifting the abortion funding ban, by saying that women military members who become victims of such assaults and wind up pregnant should be able to have an abortion of their unborn child paid for at taxpayer expense. The legislation already has the endorsement of pro-abortion groups like the National Abortion Federation, the ACLU, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has become a more active abortion proponent, also endorses the bill.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the House by Rep. Louise Slaughter, a pro-abortion Democrat from New York.
The Senate voted on a similar effort to promote tax-funded abortions at U.S. military base hospitals last year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid couldn’t find enough votes for cloture to stop debate and cast a vote on the legislation, but brought the measure up for a vote anyway.
His first attempt in September to get 60 votes for cloture failed as Republicans filibustered the measure in part because of the Burris amendment that would overturn a longstanding ban on abortions at taxpayer-funded military hospitals both domestically and abroad. The second effort failed on a 57-40 vote with all Democrats voting for cloture to move ahead with the bill and the abortions, except for Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who compiled a pro-life voting record as the state’s governor. Republicans again voted no, with pro-abortion Republicans staying with the remainder of their party except Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
The increase in the number of pro-life and Republican votes in the Senate after the 2010 elections makes it all but certain that abortion activists will not be able to overturn the military hospital abortion ban.
Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com his group supports the ban. The Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life have also actively urged senators to oppose the bill because of the Burris amendment.