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Public Statements

Smith Vows to Fight Senate Amendment That Would Allow Abortions at DoD Facilities

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Location: Washington, DC

The co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus today said he will strongly oppose an amendment adopted by a Senate committee to overturn the longtime ban on abortions in military medical facilities. And he said he expects pro-life forces to win.

"Our military facilities should be a place of hope and healing, not intentional destruction of innocent human life," said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04). "This amendment will mean that as many as 260 military medical facilities worldwide will now be in the abortion business.

"We will stand very firm," said Smith, a leading human rights activist in the Congress. "I believe there will be an overwhelming vote in the House to keep our military hospitals as nurturing centers, not abortion mills."

The provision to reverse long-standing US policy comes in the form of an amendment to the Senate version of the annual Department of Defense Authorization bill. Proposed by outgoing Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, his amendment deletes a ban on abortion in military facilities signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The Burris amendment passed 15-12 in the Senate Armed Services Committee May 27, and is expected to be considered by the full Senate this summer.

The House version of Department of Defense Authorization passed last month and did not contain language similar to the Burris amendment. Smith indicated he expects the House will not accept the legislation if it comes back from the Senate with the Burris amendment attached. The House has repeatedly rejected similar efforts in the past. Most recently in 2006, a bipartisan majority defeated an amendment by Rep. Robert Andrews to allow abortion in overseas military facilities. That amendment was turned down by a vote of 237-191.

This latest action comes on the heels of enactment of a healthcare law that funnels taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion coverage. These actions further demonstrate that the U.S. is witnessing the single greatest expansion of abortion since the tragic Roe v Wade court ruling 37 years ago.

Since President Obama was elected, the U.S. government has moved swiftly to allow the use of U.S. taxpayers money to fund abortion groups all over the world by rescinding the Mexico City Policy first instituted in the 1980s; to enable China's coercive population control program by funding the United Nations Population Fund, and; to roll back restrictions on funding for human embryo-destroying stem cell experimentation. The Administration is also in the process of altering federal regulations to roll back the nation's existing conscience protection laws that protect the rights and freedoms of healthcare providers (such as Catholic hospitals, physicians and nurses) who are opposed to performing abortions on personal or moral grounds.


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