Senate committee backs amendment to allow abortions at military hospitals

Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.)
Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.)


Following the U.S. House of Representatives' vote in favor of an amendment to a bill that would lift a ban on abortions at military hospitals, the issue passed to a Senate committee on Tuesday who also backed the move.

Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.) introduced an amendment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal a ban on abortions being performed at military hospitals. Currently, the Department of Defense is forbidden from performing the procedure except in the cases of rape, incest, or for the health of the mother. Though the Senate Armed Services Committee approved the amendment in a 15 to 12 vote on Thursday, a full Senate vote on the issue has not been announced.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards praised the move on May 28, saying that the “vote repealing this discriminatory and dangerous ban is the first step to ensuring that servicewomen can use their own private money for abortion care when they are serving overseas.”

“Every woman honorably serving our country in the U.S. military and the spouses of military personnel stationed around the world deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care available to women in the United States,” she added.

However, in a statement on Tuesday, Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, denounced the amendment, saying that if “the Burris language survives” a full Senate vote, “some of military's biggest civilian casualties will be the unborn.”

“Medical facilities would turn into abortion clinics funded entirely by U.S. taxpayers.” Referring to  period of time in the 1990's when the ban was temporarily lifted, Perkins explained that when “President Clinton allowed military abortions back in 1993, doctors refused to perform them.

Ultimately, the administration had to hire civilians to do the job.”

“With Americans more pro-life than ever, it will be difficult to find men and women willing to destroy the next generation of U.S. soldiers,” he asserted. “The military was meant to combat terrorism – not perpetrate it against the unborn.”

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