Senate Should Defeat Defense Bill Over Abortions at Military Hospitals, Groups Say
by Steven Ertelt
July 21, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A collection of pro-life organizations representing 30 million Americans sent a joint letter to members of the Senate today asking lawmakers to oppose the bill funding the Defense Department. They say the measure should be rejected and rewritten because it contains an amendment promoting abortions.
Months ago, 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.
The Senate is expected to vote on an amendment from pro-life Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi that would remove the Burris language and retain the current ban on abortions at the public military base hospitals, but the amendment will not likely be approved.
Therefore, the letter, organized under the umbrella of the Freedom Federation, urges lawmakers to defeat the bill entirely.
"Though we appreciate the importance of maintaining a strong national defense and of funding the military, members of the Freedom Federation also understand the negative impact the National Defense Authorization Act will have on the members and culture of the military, if it is passed as written," the letter, provided to LifeNews.com, says.
"Americans have been clear. The majority of Americans believe that abortion is morally wrong," the letter continues. "They do not support abortion and they do not want their tax dollars to fund the abortions of others, including those of women in the military."
"Additionally, many military doctors do not want to be forced to perform abortions on women, and in fact, have conscientious objections to being required to do so," the groups added.
The cited comments from Senator Wicker following the vote on the Burris amendment.
"As Senator Wicker said, our military hospitals should be used to care for our military and their families to keep them healthy and repair their injuries, not for elective procedures in which the life of another human being is taken," the letter said.
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.
Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Richard Land of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Andrea Lafferty of Traditional Values Coalition, and Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America are some of the pro-life leaders who signed the document.
Johnny Hunter of LEARN, Jesse Lee Peterson of BOND, Keith Fournier of Catholic Online, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership and Elaine Donnelly of Center for Military Readiness are some of the other pro-life advocates on the letter.
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 here to contact your senators and urge strong opposition to abortions at taxpayer-funded military bases.
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