Senate Will Consider Paying for Abortions at U.S. Military Bases

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Will Consider Paying for Abortions at U.S. Military Bases

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 21, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A California senator on Tuesday is planning to propose a measure that would require the Department of Defense to pay for abortions for women in the military who are victims of sexual assault.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is expected to offer the amendment Tuesday to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 2400), the bill that provides funds for the Defense Department.

Under current law, abortions can only be performed at U.S. military bases in the very rare cases of preventing the death of the mother, or when the woman is a victim of rape or incest. All other abortions are prohibited.

In the rape and incest cases, the abortion cannot be paid for with taxpayer funds — something Boxer’s motion would change.

Pro-life advocates are encouraging members of the Senate to reject the Boxer measure.

"The majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars going toward abortion services," Concerned Women for America said in a statement.

The National Right to Life Committee also opposes the Boxer amendment.

Pro-life groups have long said the focus in cases of rape and incest should be on providing medical care for the victim and making sure the perpetrator is brought to justice, rather than ensuring abortion is available or funded with tax dollars.

Abortion advocates have also attempted to expand the military abortion law to allow all abortions. In March, the U.S. House voted 221-202 in opposition to a proposal to do that.

The pro-life policy on abortions at military bases began as an executive order from the Bush administration in the early 1990s and eventually became law in 1996.
President Clinton allowed abortions in military facilities from 1993 to 1996 prior to Congress adopting the pro-life law.

During that time, all military physicians — as well as many nurses and supporting personnel — refused to perform or assist in elective abortions. In response, the Clinton administration sought to hire a civilian to perform abortions.

The House and Senate have defeated similar pro-abortion amendments in previous years that would have mandated performing abortions at military bases.

After the Senate approved the amendment in 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned that President Bush would veto the bill unless the provision was dropped from the bill. It was eventually removed.

Related web sites:
Concerned Women for America –
U.S. Senate –
House Vote in March Against Military Abortions –