In the Senate Armed Service Committee Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.) offered an amendment to strike Section 1093(b) of Title 10 of the US Code. The amendment, which passed by a vote of 15-12, will break with current longstanding policy and permit the performance of abortions in both domestic and overseas military facilities. Senator Ben Nelson (D-Nebr.) was the only Democrat to vote against the amendment. A similar amendment to allow abortions in overseas military facilities was most recently offered in the House in 2006 when it failed by a vote of 191-237. The Burris amendment is more expansive than the 2006 amendment because it allows abortion on both domestic and overseas military bases.U.S. Code Title 10 USC Sec 1093 (In law since 1996)
Current law prohibits the performance of abortion by Department of Defense medical personnel or in Department of Defense medical facilities except when the life of the mother is at risk or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. There is no distinction in this policy between military facilities within the United States and those overseas. A separate provision prohibits the use of DOD funds for abortion except to save the life of the mother.
(a) Restriction on Use of Funds – funds available to the Department of Defense may not be used to perform abortions except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.
(b) Restriction on Use of Facilities – No medical treatment facility or other facility of the Department of Defense may be used to perform an abortion except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or in a case in which the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.
The Burris amendment will effectively turn our military medical facilities into abortion clinics and force American taxpayers to underwrite the use of military facilities, the procurement of additional equipment, and the use of needed military personnel to perform abortions. In addition, when President Clinton allowed abortions in military facilities from 1993 to 1996, all military physicians (as well as many nurses and supporting personnel) refused to perform or assist in elective abortions and in response, the administration sought to hire civilians to do abortions. If the Burris amendment were enacted, not only could taxpayer funded facilities be used to support abortion on demand, but resources could also be used to search for, hire, and transport new personnel simply so that abortions could be performed.To speak out on this issue, call Senate offices at (202) 224-3121.