House Democrats want to revoke long-standing federal protections for unborn babies and begin allowing military hospitals and doctors to perform abortions.
American Military News reports that Democratic lawmakers on Friday introduced legislation to allow military medical facilities to provide elective abortions and force taxpayers to pay for them for service members and their families.
The MARCH for Servicemembers Act, sponsored by US Representative Jackie Speier, D-California, would repeal laws limiting the use of military medical facilities and funding for elective abortions.
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According to a press release from Speier’s office, more than 80 House Democrats co-sponsored the bill, including members of the Democratic Women’s and Pro-Choice caucuses.
“Women in the military experience unintended pregnancy rates 22 percent higher than civilians….” Speier said. “Many also don’t have the luxury of traveling thousands of miles and days off base to pay out of pocket to get the care they need and deserve.”
She claimed that killing unborn babies through abortions is “standard health care” and should be available to service members.
According to her office, many prominent pro-abortion groups support Speier’s legislation, including Planned Parenthood, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and NARAL.
According to the report, the military is also considering a new policy that would allow military personnel to request transfer to a state with pro-abortion laws.
Speier said she believes her legislation is needed now more than ever after news broke in May of a leaked draft ruling showing the US Supreme Court overthrows Roe v. Wade. If Roe goes, as many as 26 states could ban abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“The consequences for our military personnel and their families will be catastrophic, as will the threat to the morale of our military preparedness and the cohesion of our units,” Speier said.
The current law, in effect since 1996, prohibits elective abortions from being performed by Department of Defense medical personnel and medical facilities. A separate provision prohibits using military means for abortions except to save the mother’s life.
When former President Bill Clinton allowed abortions in military facilities from 1993 to 1996, military doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel refused to perform or assist with elective abortions. Before the current law went into effect, the Clinton administration tried to hire civilians to perform abortions on military bases.
Legislation to allow elective abortions in the military has repeatedly failed in Congress, including a budget amendment introduced by Speier in 2016.