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Monday September 20, 2010

Senate to Vote this Week on Allowing Abortion on Military Bases

By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2010 ( – Leaders of the right to life movement are calling on pro-life voters to contact their senators before the body of legislators votes on a Defense Authorization Bill this week that includes a provision that would allow abortions at military hospitals.

Top conservative groups including the Family Research Council (FRC), the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, and the American Family Association are warning that the FY2011 Defense Authorization bill, if passed, would “turn every U.S. military hospital in the world into an abortion clinic.”

“Military doctors did not want to perform abortions for the few short years this practice was legal during the Clinton Administration, and they don’t want to now,” wrote SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “In fact, before the law was overturned, they were about to hire outside doctors to perform abortions because no military doctors would participate.”

The amendment in question strikes a section of the U.S. Code, which has prohibited Department of Defense facilities from being used to perform abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and risk to the life of the mother. Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) successfully introduced the amendment during an Armed Services Committee markup in May.

FRC president Tony Perkins noted that, because it is not an appropriations bill, the controversial authorization measure is “not necessary to fund our military,” and urged efforts to block the bill.

In July, 180 members of Congress urged leaders in both houses to strike the language allowing military abortions.

“[Department of Defense] medical facilities should remain focused on providing the best possible care for our military service members and their families, not providing abortion on demand,” said the letter, authored by Republican Congressman Todd Akin and Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor.

The defense spending bill will face a tough battle for passage thanks to other factors, including a controversial repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy on homosexuality. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is expected to lead a filibuster attempt on account of the repeal effort. Even should the bill pass, it may run up against a veto if it maintains weapons spending provisions that the Obama administration opposes.

here to see the SBA List Action Center.

U.S. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

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