Wash. Times op-ed falsely claims Defense bill provides "taxpayer dollars" for "elective abortions"

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

The Washington Times published an op-ed by anti-abortion activist Denise Burke which repeatedly claimed that Sen. Roland Burris' amendment to the Defense Authorization bill authorizes "taxpayer dollars to be used for elective abortions." In fact, while the Burris amendment would allow abortions to be performed in Defense Department facilities, patients would be responsible for covering the cost of the procedures.

Times op-ed falsely claims bill authorizes "taxpayer dollars to be used for elective abortions"

Burke: Bill will "advance ... broader ambitions for unfettered and taxpayer-funded abortion on demand." In her September 17 op-ed, Burke repeatedly claimed that the Burris amendment "would permit military hospitals, military personnel and taxpayer dollars to be used for elective abortions":

Abortion proponents intend to use the U.S. military as a platform to advance their broader ambitions for unfettered and taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. They will accept nothing less than the unconditional surrender of the American public to their radical agenda.

To effectively counter their attacks, we need to understand their likely battle plan and future strategic objectives.

Their current weapon of choice is the Burris Amendment to this year's National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation would permit military hospitals, military personnel and taxpayer dollars to be used for elective abortions. Disguising their true ambitions, abortion advocates disingenuously argue that they are championing the rights of American servicewomen rather than crassly advancing their own political agenda.

In fact, under the bill, taxpayer funds "may not be used to perform abortions" in most circumstances

Burris amendment maintains ban on using taxpayer funds for abortion "except where the life of the mother would be endangered." Contrary to Burke's assertion, the Burris amendment removes the section of Title 10 of the U.S. Code that states, "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." But it maintains the following section:

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.

Burris: Amendment will allow "servicewomen and their families to elect to have on-base procedures at their own personal expense." From Burris' press release announcing the amendment:

Today, Senator Roland W. Burris introduced an amendment to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal the current policy of banning privately funded abortions in Department of Defense health care facilities. The National Defense Authorization Act is currently under consideration by the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Senator Burris is a member.

Since the 1980's, a statute banning service members and their families from choosing to receive family planning services at Department of Defense facilities unless the pregnancy was a danger to the life of the mother or as a result of an act of rape or incest has been upheld. Senator Burris' legislation will end this prohibition, allowing servicewomen and their families to elect to have on-base procedures at their own personal expense.

"Currently, more than 100,000 service members and their dependents live on military bases overseas and rely on military hospitals for their health care," said Senator Burris. "It is critical that we provide the highest quality care for our service members while they are serving our nation overseas, and that includes allowing women and their families the right to choose at facilities operated under the Department of Defense."

Stars and Stripes: Servicewomen and family members overseas will have access to abortions "provided they pay for the procedure themselves." In a June 8 article, Stars and Stripes reported: "Under the amendment, female servicemembers and military dependents stationed overseas would have access to abortions, provided they pay for the procedure themselves and medical personnel on base are willing to perform it." The article added: "No military doctors would be required to perform abortions if they object to the practice."

Wash. Times itself has noted that Burris' amendment "would require women to pay for abortions upfront and without government funds." On June 7, The Washington Times noted that Burris' amendment "would require women to pay for abortions upfront and without government funds, but would allow doctors at military hospitals to perform the procedures if those conditions are met." The Times further noted that "the provision has angered pro-life lawmakers, who argue that taxpayer dollars would still go to fund doctors and surgical equipment used for abortions in military hospitals."

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
Person
Washington Times
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.