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Tuesday August 3, 2010

Over 200 Military Physicians Petition for No Abortion on Military Bases

WASHINGTON, DC, August 3, 2010 ( — Over 200 active and retired military physicians have signed a letter organized by the 16,000-member Christian Medical Association (CMA), in which they ask Senators to vote against the FY 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, unless an amendment permitting abortions to be performed on military bases is stripped from the bill.

“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,” said CMA Senior Vice President Gene Rudd, MD, who has received the Gorgas Award for distinguished service in the American military.

Current law prohibits the performance of abortion by Department of Defense (DoD) medical personnel or using DoD medical facilities, except in case of rape, incest, and a threat to the life of the mother. An amendment added to the Defense Authorization Act by the outgoing Senator Roland Burris (D-IL), however, would permit abortion on both domestic and overseas military bases.

“Such a drastic and controversial change in longstanding federal policy could disrupt military medicine in a time of war and also undermine military physician retention and recruitment,” the letter says.

When President Clinton instituted a policy in 1993 permitting abortions on military bases, most military physicians refused to participate in them. The letter warns that the efforts of those holding to “partisan abortion ideology” in attempting to diminish conscience rights, combined with pro-abortion policies such as the Burris amendment, could “drastically reduce the number of physicians, thus reducing patient access.”

“Reducing physicians and patient access during two wars and at a time of a growing and severe national shortage of physicians – especially in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology and family medicine – is hardly wise policy, regardless of one’s views on abortion, ” the letter states.

Abortion has been prohibited on military bases since a 1996 law overturned Clinton’s policy. That law “has enabled military physicians to practice medicine according to the life-honoring principles expressed in the Hippocratic oath and Judeo-Christian ethics,” according to the letter.

CMA Director of Global Health Outreach Col. Donald Thompson, MD, who recently retired from the Air Force, said that “this provision would put conscientious military medics on the losing side of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in key areas crucial to good order and discipline in the military.”

“Our military exists to fight our nation’s wars, not to be a ideological playground. If this provision stays in the NDAA, it will drive out of the military those who are most likely to serve their nation by going in harm’s way.”

The FY 2011 Defense Authorization act would also end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) policy and permit homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

You may find contact information for your Senator here.

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