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.).
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,”
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
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
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.”