Poll Finds Americans Oppose Allowing Abortions at Military Base Hospitals
by Steven Ertelt
August 17, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll conducted July 14-18 by The Polling Company for the Center for Military Readiness and the Military Culture Coalition has bearing on a debate in the Senate about allowing abortions at taxpayer-funded U.S. military bases. The poll finds a plurality of Americans oppose that idea.
By a 49-41 percent margin, Americans say they don’t want to see abortions done in the hospitals that treat the men and women of the armed forces. The percentage of voters strongly opposed (42%) outpaced those strongly in favor (26%).
The majority of men (51%) and a plurality of women (47%) opposed authorizing abortions in military medical facilities. Pro-life voters objected 84%-9%, while pro-choice voters endorsed it 76%-15%.
Military members stood against this practice, opposing it by 14 percentage points (51% oppose vs. 37% support).
Both Independents (54% opposed vs. 37% supported) and Republicans (70% opposed vs. 22% supported) were resolutely against abortions in military hospitals. Only self-identified Democrats were favorable towards the concept (62% supported vs. 27% opposed).
Majorities of those in the West North Central (60%), South Atlantic (54%), East South Central (54%), West South Central (55%), and Mountain (62%) regions, and the plurality in the East North Central (47%) opposed performing abortions in military medical facilities. The majority in the Pacific (59%), and pluralities of New Englanders (48%) and Mid-Atlantic voters (47%) supported it.
Likely voters aged 18-24 opposed 51%-46%, while those aged 65+ rejected it
57%-34%. The levels of support or opposition among those aged 25-34, 44-
54, and 55-64 were tied or within three points.
Specifically, they opposed, as the poll asked, legislation that would "allow abortions in military medical facilities in the United States and overseas."
The poll responds to a Senate bill containing an 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.
According to the new poll, lawmakers who vote for abortions in tax-funded military facilities do so at their own political peril as 43% of Americans would be less likely to vote for members of Congress who would vote that way. Just 21% were more likely to vote for such members of Congress and the rest said it would make no difference.
The percentage of voters who were much less likely (34%) exceeded those were much more likely (14%).
A plurality (44%) of service members said they would be less inclined to support their member of Congress for reelection if he or she favored allowing abortions in military medical facilities (vs. 16% more likely).
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 an 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.
Related web sites:
Full poll results:
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