Planned Parenthood Uses Independence Day to Press for Military Base Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Planned Parenthood Uses Independence Day to Press for Military Base Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 5
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Planned Parenthood used Independence Day as an occasion to press its agenda for the military: abortions at taxpayer-funded military base hospitals. In an action alert the abortion giant sent its members Planned Parenthood belittled the July 4th traditions to say they’re not as important as abortions.

"This 4th of July, among the outdoor cookouts and fireworks displays, countless politicians and members of Congress will give speeches to honor the women and men serving in our nation’s military. But speeches are one thing, and action is another," Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards wrote.

Richards complained that, "Right now, women serving abroad in the U.S. military are denied the basic freedom to make their own medical decisions, because abortion is banned at military hospitals and bases."

She said more than 100,000 women who are active service members and spouses and dependents of military personnel and reside on military bases don’t have access to abortion — even though most live near big cities that have abortion centers.

"Even if it threatens her health, a servicewoman who becomes pregnant while serving with our forces overseas is required to venture out to a local medical facility," Richards further claims, ignoring how women in the military and spouses have ready access to medical care and support during pregnancy.

What Richards says women in the military overseas don’t have is the ability to obtain an abortion, and she want them to be able to do so.

"This is an outrageous injustice to women who sacrifice so much, and it’s time for a change. We’re supporting a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow abortions at military hospitals and bases," Richards says, adding "we’re sure to face a fight in Congress."

Planned Parenthood can expect a fierce fight from pro-life advocates after Sen. Roland Burris attached an amendment to allow abortions at taxpayer-funded military base hospitals to a bill in the Senate Armed Services Committee that received a 15-12 vote.

All Democrats supported it except for Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who joined all of the committee’s Republicans in opposition.

Leading pro-life groups and the nation’s Catholic bishops are urging senators to vote for an expected amendment that would remove the Burris language from the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454).

They have noted the longstanding nature of the current policy against providing abortions at military health facilities, which has been in place for 22 years with the exception of 1993-1995.

“During the brief period when these facilities were told to make abortions available, scarcely any military physician could be found in overseas facilities who was willing to perform abortions,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, observed.

Abortion advocates have tried for years to force military base hospitals to do abortions on female service members. The Burris amendment is more expansive than a 2006 effort because it allows abortion on both domestic and overseas military bases.

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi led the fight in the committee against the amendment and is expected to offer an amendment of his own on the Senate floor to delete the Burris language, although the votes are not likely present to pass it.

"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 after the vote.

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."

Wicker promised pro-life lawmakers would do everything possible in the House and Senate to stop the amendment from going forward.

"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."

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: Go to to contact your senators and urge strong opposition to abortions at taxpayer-funded military bases.


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