Democrats Want to Force Americans to Fund Abortion Travel for Members of the Military

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 27, 2023   |   11:30AM   |   Washington, DC

A group of U.S. Senate Democrats urged military leaders Monday to keep forcing Americans to fund travel for elective abortions for service members under a new Biden administration order.

Their letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin came after Republican lawmakers demanded an end to the pro-abortion policy and promised to block Biden’s nominees until the Pentagon reverses it.

According to NBC News, 36 Senate Democrats and two independents who caucus with them, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, signed the letter demanding that the Biden administration keep funding abortions for the military.

“It is unacceptable that service members or their dependents should face limited or no access to abortion care simply because of where they are stationed as part of their service to the United States,” they wrote.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, who led the letter, argued that the policy is needed because some female service members and their families now live in states where abortions are restricted or banned.

“With Republican-controlled legislatures doubling down on their promise to enact laws that restrict women’s access to abortion … both women and men in uniform — who are stationed based on the needs of the nation and not their personal preference — will be among the most vulnerable to these attacks,” Shaheen told NBC News.

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In February, the Biden administration skirted federal laws that ban taxpayer funding for elective abortions by announcing the Department of Defense will begin paying travel costs and providing paid time off for military service members and their families to abort their unborn babies.

Approximately 4,1000 more unborn babies could be killed in abortions every year under the new policy, Republican lawmakers said.

According to NBC News, about 17 percent of U.S. military members are women, and about 40 percent live in states that protect unborn babies by banning or strictly limiting abortions.

Supporting the new policy, Democrat lawmakers asserted that female service members need elective abortions, and failing to provide them could harm military recruitment, retention and readiness.

“State laws restricting or prohibiting our service members from accessing reproductive care send a message that the United States does not trust those who serve in uniform — whom we trust to protect our country — to make their own decisions about their health care and families,” they wrote.

Earlier this month, Senate Republican lawmakers criticized the change as “purely political” and a “blatant attempt to circumvent numerous federal statutes” by forcing “taxpayers to subsidize abortions.”

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, also promised to block Department of Defense nominees until the policy is reversed, saying President Joe Biden has turned the military into “an abortion travel agency.”

“In December, I warned Austin and his department that I would hold nominees from Senate confirmation if the Biden administration tried to force abortion on demand on our military. They did it anyway,” Tuberville wrote in an oped at LifeNews last week. “Despite efforts to pressure me to drop my hold, I will continue to block these nominees until the Department of Defense follows the law—or Congress changes the law.”

U.S. House Republicans recently introduced legislation to reverse the order and permanently block funding for abortion travel in the military.

Right now, pro-life lawmakers at the state and federal level are fighting against the Biden administration’s efforts to expand the killing of unborn babies in abortions.

Recently, 15 state attorneys general warned the Biden administration that they will sue if veterans hospitals start aborting unborn babies in violation of their state pro-life laws. In response to the Dobbs v. Jackson ruling, Biden proposed a rule that requires Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals to provide taxpayer-funded abortions “regardless of state restrictions” – a clear violation of the law, the attorneys generals said.

The Biden administration claims the rule only applies to abortions in “limited circumstances”: rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life or health. However, “health” can be broadly defined and statements from department leaders suggest abortions will be allowed more broadly.

All pro-life laws allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk and, in some states, cases of rape and incest. These make up a very small percent of all abortions in the U.S. Research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found about 96 percent of abortions are for purely elective reasons.

Polls consistently show strong public opposition to taxpayer-funded abortions. A new Marist poll found 60 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in the U.S. Additionally, 78 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions in other countries.

In February, LifeNews published a list of 25 recent polls that show Americans support legal protections for unborn babies.