The Biden administration's policy of allowing pregnant troops to use taxpayer funds for traveling to other states for an abortion is being opposed by Iowa's Republican Senator, Joni Ernst. Her proposed legislation, named "Modification to Department of Defense Travel Authorities for Abortion-Related Expenses Act of 2023," declares the policy as illegal, and abolishes the DOD's ability to pay for travel to states with fewer restrictions on abortion laws. It further clarifies that living in a state where abortion is prohibited does not count as a "hardship" under the Hyde Amendment, and hence cannot be used as a legal basis for obtaining an abortion.
Chairman @RepMikeRogersAL released the following statement on changes to Department of Defense policies regarding abortion.https://t.co/7SQoPsbvvy pic.twitter.com/b12xJ5XSbW
— Armed Services GOP (@HASCRepublicans) February 16, 2023
At the moment, the proposed legislation has the support of more than 32 Republican senators, including Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, who is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Joni Ernst has been openly critical of the Biden administration's policy and has stated that she does not believe that the Pentagon should be involved in issues related to abortion. In her opinion, the Department of Defense's purpose is to protect life, not end it.
@SenJoniErnst leads a majority of her GOP colleagues, inc @SenatorWicker SASC ranking member, to introduce a bill declaring @SecDef abortion travel funding illegal @DailyCaller https://t.co/vA8tu3QZ5I
— Micaela Burrow (@micaela_burrow) March 15, 2023
A report from the Congressional Research Service indicates that under the Hyde Amendment, the DOD is prohibited from providing abortions at military medical facilities except in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening pregnancies. If a woman seeks an abortion for these reasons, the military health plan can only cover the costs if she receives treatment from a private abortion center. Women are therefore required to pay for elective abortions themselves.
Under the Biden administration's new policy, military personnel can ask for a maximum of 21 days off to travel to other states for abortions, either for themselves, their spouses, or dependents. According to the policy, commanders are required to authorize the absence when the service member provides a valid reason, unless it would adversely affect the military mission's proper execution.
This policy is an affront to conservative values and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars. It is outrageous that the Biden administration would use our military as a tool to advance its own radical pro-abortion agenda. The Department of Defense should not be in the business of funding abortions and should instead focus on defending life and protecting our servicemembers. Senator Joni Ernst is leading the fight against this immoral policy and should be commended for her efforts. We must continue to stand up for conservative values and fight against the Biden administration’s attempts to undermine them.