Uphold Longstanding Law Against Military Abortions
Current law states that military health care facilities may not be used to perform elective abortions (10 U.S. Code Sec. 1093(b)). This policy was first established administratively in 1988. President Clinton reversed the policy in 1993 but Congress restored it in 1995, and it has remained intact ever since. Now an attempt is being made to repeal this longstanding policy.
An amendment by Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) to strike this provision from law was approved during committee consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (S. 3454). For a description of this vote, see: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/6Burris8c.10.pdf.
In a June 17 letter to the U.S. Senate, the Most Reverend Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, stated that the Burris Amendment “would contravene our military health care providers’ commitment to defending and protecting human life” and “would pressure military physicians, nurses and associated medical personnel to engage in an act of taking innocent human life.” Military medical personnel should be allowed to continue to abide by their commitment to save lives. For text of letter, see: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/Letter%20to%20Congress%20from%20Archbishop%20Broglio%206.17.2010.pdf.
In a subsequent letter, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged that the authorization bill not be approved “until the original version of 10 U.S.C. §1093 is restored.” He said it is not the task of the federal government “to directly promote and facilitate elective abortions,” and the longstanding ban on use of these facilities for abortion should be maintained. For text of letter, see: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/CardinalDiNardoMilitaryLetter.pdf.
On September 21, and again on December 9, the Senate rejected cloture motions on a motion to proceed to the consideration of S. 3454. On December 17, the House passed a revised National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 6523). This bill, which does not change the longstanding military abortion policy, is pending on the Senate calendar. For NCHLA’s Fact Sheet on this issue, see: nchla.org/datasource/ifactsheets/7militaryfactsheet.13.10.pdf.
ACTION: Please contact your two U.S. Senators by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter:
- To send an e-mail message through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center click here.
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Senators’ local offices. Contact info can be found on Senators’ web sites at: www.senate.gov.
MESSAGE: “Please do not approve the defense authorization bill until the Burris Amendment is reversed and current law on military abortions is upheld.”
WHEN: Please continue to contact your Senators until this issue is resolved! Thanks!
6/29/2010; updated 12/21/2010