Dozens of House Republicans this week introduced legislation that would prohibit the Department of Defense from reimbursing service members for travel related to abortion.
After the US Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade, the Pentagon said it would help service members in states with strict abortion limits travel to other states and would reimburse them for expenses.
But the bill from Texas Republicans Ronny Jackson and Chip Roy would prohibit the Department of Defense from funding that travel. Jackson said federal policy for decades has been designed to prevent federal funding from being used for abortion services, and said the Pentagon is ignoring that history.
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“The Department of Defense’s complete disregard for these longstanding pro-life provisions is unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” Jackson said. “The DoD exists to protect our national security interests and to defend against our enemies, and it has no business using taxpayer dollars to contribute to the demise of the unborn.”
“The Biden administration’s flagrantly political decision to create an abortion travel slush fund both flies in the face of current law and violates nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus to protect Americans’ conscience rights by preventing taxpayer dollars from funding most abortions,” Roy added. “Our military is not a political pawn for the left’s social agenda.”
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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the policy last October, when he said that service members are often required to serve in certain areas of the country to meet the military’s mission, and argued that this reality “should not limit their access to reproductive health care.”
The Department of Defense released details of the plan last month and said it would take effect in mid-March. Under the policy, service members will have up to 20 weeks into their pregnancy to notify their superiors and request travel for an abortion.
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The policy asks top officials in the service branches to grant administrative absence for abortions. Those will allow leave without any loss in pay.
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“Travel and transportation allowances may be authorized for Service members and dependents to travel to access non-covered reproductive health care,” the Pentagon announced. “Travel and transportation allowances may be authorized when access to non-covered reproductive health care services is not available within the local area of the member’s permanent duty station, temporary duty location, or the last location the dependent was transported on Government orders.”