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NRL News
Page 20
June 2010
Volume 37
Issue 6

Pro-Abortion Senators Want
Abortions in Military Medical Facilities

WASHINGTON (June 11, 2010)—Pro-abortion senators have launched an effort to repeal a long-standing law that prohibits performance of elective abortions at U.S. military medical facilities. Pro-life lawmakers in both houses of Congress have vowed to fight the change.

In 1996, the Republican-controlled Congress added a provision to a defense authorization bill that prohibits performance of abortions in U.S. military medical facilities anywhere in the world, except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. President Clinton signed that broad defense policy bill into law, although he expressed objections to the pro-life provision.

On May 27, during consideration of a new defense authorization bill (S. 3280) in the Senate Armed Services Committee, pro-abortion Senator Roland Burris (D-Il.) offered an amendment to repeal the 1996 ban, which was adopted on a 15 to 12 vote, with the support of committee Chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-Mi.).

It is critical that we provide the highest quality care for our service members while they are serving our nation overseas, and that includes allowing women and their families the right to choose [abortion] at facilities operated under the Department of Defense,” Burris said.

If Burris’s amendment were enacted, it would result in elective abortions being performed in Defense Department facilities both overseas and in the United States. Those seeking the abortions would be required to pay a fee, because a separate provision of law prohibits the use of Department of Defense funds to pay directly for abortions no matter where they are performed, unless necessary to save the life of the mother.

In remarks on the Senate floor on May 28, pro-life Senator Roger Wicker (R-Ms.) said that the Burris amendment would enable military installations “to be used for abortions performed late term, abortions performed for purposes of sex selection, abortions performed for any reason, abortions at will. That will be the requirement for our military installations and the medical facilities on those installations—again, another piece of social engineering, another vast and serious and consequential departure from long-standing Department of Defense policy.”

Wicker indicated he would force the full Senate to vote on the Burris language when the Senate takes up the bill sometime this summer.

If the defense bill passes the Senate with the Burris provision included, it must still be reconciled with a different version of the defense authorization legislation (H.R. 5136) that was passed by the House of Representatives on May 28, which makes no changes to the current pro-life laws.

The House-Senate conference committee that writes the final bill will be co-chaired by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), who opposes repeal of the pro-life law.

Pro-abortion forces have failed in past attempts to repeal the pro-life law. In 2006, the House rejected an amendment to allow overseas military facilities to perform elective abortions, by a vote of 237 to 191.

In a June 10 statement, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the House Pro-life Caucus, vowed to fight the Burris Amendment. “Our military facilities should be a place of hope and healing, not intentional destruction of innocent human life,” he said. “This amendment [if enacted] will mean that as many as 260 military medical facilities worldwide [would] be in the abortion business.”