NARAL Pushes Amendment Allowing Abortions at Tax-Funded Military Hospitals

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 7, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

NARAL Pushes Amendment Allowing Abortions at Tax-Funded Military Hospitals

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 7
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — A top pro-abortion organization is pushing an amendment its supporters added to a Senate bill that would turn U.S. military base hospitals into abortion centers. It would overturn current federal policy against elective abortions done at the bases, which are run with taxpayer dollars.

Sen. Rolland Burris of Illinois won approval for attaching the amendment to a bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The panel voted 15-12 for the amendment with all Republicans and Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson voting against it and all other Democrats voting for it.

While pro-life lawmakers hope to remove the Burris amendment on the Senate floor, NARAL is asking its members across the nation to contact lawmakers and tell them to support it.

NARAL bills the amendment as "ending a ban on military women’s ability use their own money to access abortion" and glosses over the fact that taxpayers are on the hook for the abortions because the base and its staff, equipment and supplies are wholly paid for at taxpayer expense.

"Right now, women who serve in the military in places like Afghanistan have nowhere to turn if they face an unintended pregnancy because of an abortion ban," NARAL claims, ignoring a wealth of medical and other support for pregnant women who decide to keep their baby.

NARAL president Nancy Keenan, in her email to her members, added, "We already had a huge victory: an important Senate committee (the Senate Armed Services Committee) voted to end the ban at the end of May. Now we must get a majority of senators to do the same when the bill comes to the floor."

"We have our best chance in years to win," Keenan added.

However, she noted pro-life advocates, led by Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, will try to defeat it on the Senate floor.

"Anti-choice politicians are digging in to keep the ban in place. One senator from Mississippi even called on his anti-choice colleagues to prepare for a big fight," NARAL said. "We need to get emails into the Senate right away before our opponents can put their political plan into action. Contact your senators today."

Wicker led the fight in the committee against the amendment and spoke out about it on the Senate floor after losing that battle.

"The committee yesterday decided to reverse this long-standing policy and to say that indeed abortions, for whatever reason, will be performed in these facilities that are paid for by taxpayer expense," he said.

While military base hospitals should be "there for the care of our service members to keep them healthy and to repair their injuries," Wicker said "we’re going to use those facilities for elective abortions."

"But if this stands, our military installations, Fort Bragg, Columbus Air Force Base, Keesler Air Force Base in my home state of Mississippi, their medical facilities will be able to be used for abortions, performed late term, abortions performed for purposes of sex selection, abortions performed for any reason," Wicker complained.

"Abortion-at-will will be the requirement for our military installations and the medical facilities on those installations," he said.

Current law prohibits the performance of abortion by Department of Defense medical personnel or in Department of Defense medical facilities except when the life of the mother is at risk or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. There is no distinction in this policy between military facilities within the United States and those overseas.

A separate provision prohibits the use of Department of Defense taxpayer funds for abortion except to save the life of the mother.

The issue of abortions done at military base medical centers has been around for two decades.

When ex-President Clinton allowed abortions in military facilities from 1993 to 1996, all military physicians (as well as many nurses and supporting personnel) refused to perform or assist in elective abortions. In response, the Clinton administration attempted to hire civilians to do abortions.

ACTION: Contact your two U.S. senators and urge strong opposition to the Burris amendment and ask that it be removed from the legislation. Tell them you oppose allowing abortions at taxpayer-funded military bases.


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