Senator Tells Obama Nominee Abortions at Military Hospitals Would Strain Troops

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator Tells Obama Nominee Abortions at Military Hospitals Would Strain Troops

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 4
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Yesterday, Senator Roger Wicker questioned Dr. Jonathan Woodson, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, about how a pro-abortion provision allowing abortions at taxpayer-funded military bases hospitals would strain American troops.

He told Woodson a strain may be placed on the military if Congress removes the ban on the use of military medical facilities to perform abortions.

“At a time when we are fighting two wars and facing a severe shortage of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, Congress should not be adding unnecessary pressure to these professionals by allowing abortions at military medical facilities,” said Wicker, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“Our military health care facilities should be a place for healing our men and women who serve in uniform and treating their families, not diverting the attention of our understaffed personnel to assist in the destruction of innocent human life," he added.

Earlier this year, Senator Roland Burris, an Illinois Democrat, included language in the Defense Authorization bill that would reverse a long-standing ban on the use of Department of Defense (DOD) medical facilities both foreign and domestic to perform abortions.

Under the current law, DoD is restricted from using funds for abortions to be performed by medical personnel or in medical facilities except in the cases where the life of the mother is at risk or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Questioning Woodson is important because she would, if confirmed, Woodson would be in charge of implementing the Burris language.
“This legislation is yet another example of the Obama administration’s attempts to expand abortion both foreign and domestically,” added Wicker. “If enacted, this amendment would further burden our military personnel at a time when Congress and the Defense Department should be focused on ways to increase support and care for our troops fighting to defend our country.”

If the Burris language remains in the Defense Authorization bill, taxpayer funded facilities would be used to support abortion on demand, and resources could also be used to search for, hire, and transport new personnel to perform abortions.

The Defense Authorization Bill passed the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 28, 2010. The Senate is scheduled to consider passage of the bill in September and Wicker is expected to offer an amendment to remove the language.

Tom McClusky, a vice president at the Family Research Council, said he expects more than one battle on abortions at tax-funded military bases.

"Three votes are needed to send the bill to President Obama for his signature. The Senate version must be passed by the full chamber, and then after the bills go to conference to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions, each chamber will have to pass the final conference report," he said.

The questioning comes after 200 physicians who have served U.S. soldiers signed a letter to U.S. senators protesting a Senate bill amendment that would use U.S. military medical facilities as abortion clinics.

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.

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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