Senate to Vote on Bill Next Week Allowing Abortions at Military Base Hospitals

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 15, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate to Vote on Bill Next Week Allowing Abortions at Military Base Hospitals

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 15
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Members of the U.S. Senate will vote next week on whether to stop a filibuster against that bill containing a provision allowing abortions at taxpayer-funded American military bases. Republicans, perhaps joined by a Democrat or two, are filibustering the bill funding the Defense Department.

They are doing so for a number of political reasons — including the fact that the bill contains an amendment allowing abortions at all worldwide U.S. military base hospitals.

The amendment, sponsored by pro-abortion Sen. Rolland Burris of Illinois, would have the military break with current longstanding policy disallowing abortions.

The Senate is expected to vote on Tuesday on a cloture vote on the motion to proceed — with pro-abortion Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid asking senators to end debate so the measure can have an up or down vote.

Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi led the fight in the committee against the amendment and planned an amendment of his own on the Senate floor to strike the language. However, it appears the Reid motion will not allow Wicker’s amendment to be considered.

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.

Nelson is one Democrat, and there may be others, who may very well join Republicans to vote against ending the filibuster on the bill and its pro-abortion provision.

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.

In August, more than 200 physicians who have served U.S. soldiers have signed a letter to members of the Senate protesting the Burris amendment. The 16,000-member Christian Medical Association organized the letter and urged lawmakers to vote no on the National Defense Authorization Act unless the Burris amendment is removed.

CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, who received the Gorgas Award for distinguished service in the American military, told 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."

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.

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 filibuster.


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