Letter Has 200 Military Physicians Opposing Abortions on Military Bases
by Steven Ertelt
August 3, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — More than 200 physicians who have served U.S. soldiers have signed a letter to members of the Senate protesting a Senate bill amendment that would turn U.S. military base hospitals into abortion centers.
The amendment, sponsored by pro-abortion Sen. Rolland Burris of Illinois, would have the military break with current longstanding policy disallowing abortions.
The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association organized the letter and today sent it to the senators urging them to vote no on the National Defense Authorization Act unless the Burris amendment is removed. The group and the doctors are supporting an amendment on the Senate floor to remove the Burris language.
CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, who received the Gorgas Award for distinguished service in the American military, told LifeNews.com that allowing abortions on military bases is inappropriate.
"If enacted, requiring military physicians to perform abortions threatens military readiness. Morale will suffer among those already serving. Morale is a key component of military effectiveness," he said.
"Furthermore, just as we have seen a marked decrease in young doctors entering OB/Gyn training for fear of being forced to do abortion, this requirement will discourage young doctors from joining the military," Dr. Rudd said.
Rudd said that not only will the Burris amendment promote destroying human lives in abortion, but it would put military doctors in a precarious position.
"In addition to facilitating further destruction of unborn life, the provision will place military physicians with life-honoring convictions in the unenviable position of either disobeying orders, abandoning their conscience, or seeking objector status," he said.
Col. Donald Thompson, a doctor who is the CMA Director of Global Health Outreach and retired from the Air Force, joined in on the opposition to the amendment.
"This provision would put conscientious military medics on the losing side of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in key areas crucial to good order and discipline in the military," he said.
"Our military exists to fight our nation’s wars, not to be a ideological playground. If this provision stays in the NDAA, it will drive out of the military those who are most likely to serve their nation by going in harm’s way," Colonel Thompson added.
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.
Abortion advocates have tried for years to force military bases hospitals to do abortions on female service members. In 2006, the House rejected by a vote of 237-191 amendment similar to the Burris amendment.
The Burris amendment is more expansive than a 2006 effort because it allows abortion on both domestic and overseas military bases.
The Senate Armed Services Committee voted 15-12 for the amendment with all Republicans and Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson voting against it and all other Democrats voting for it.
Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi led the fight in the committee against the amendment and plans an amendment of his own on the Senate floor to strike the language.
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 this page to contact your senators and urge opposition to abortions at U.S. military bases. Urge opposition to the Burris amendment and support for the Wicker amendment.
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