Clarification On Facts vs. Fiction

On June 10 we posted a diary called “Facts vs. Fiction on the Military’s Abortion Ban.” In this piece, we were responding to misinformation about efforts by the Senate Armed Services Committee that we strongly support to remove the ban on private funding for abortions on military bases. It looks like we have a little more misinformation to respond to.

Contrary to what has been suggested elsewhere, the military’s longstanding policy has been to allow health care professionals to refuse to participate in abortion services on the basis of a religious or moral objection. This was military policy before Congress passed the military abortion facilities ban and it remains current policy. The Burris amendment — which proposes simply to lift the ban on privately-funded abortions in military facilities — neither created this refusal policy nor expanded it in any way. The amendment does not change existing military policy, which allows health care professionals to refuse to participate in the provision of abortion services, and we did not intend to suggest otherwise. (Nor, as has also been asserted, does the Burris amendment have anything to do with the so-called “Conscience Rule,” which was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in the waning days [hours] of the Bush administration.)

By lifting the ban on private-pay abortion services in overseas military facilities, the Burris amendment would finally restore comprehensive reproductive health care to military women — this is long overdue and something all of us should support.

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  • crowepps

    I was distressed to see the erros in a letter to the editor in our paper:

    Is Denali KidCare really “Denali KidCare-Less?”

    Using the health department figures in the story (“State funded 664 abortions in ’09,” June 18), and rounding off to the nearest dollar, I did the math. My understanding is that only 0.5 percent of all pregnancies would result in the death or disability of the mother if she continued her pregnancy.

    So of the 664 abortions, those statistics suggest three were medically essential. Denali KidCare spent $384,000 for 664 abortions at an average cost of $578. Three medically necessary abortions would have cost $1,734, leaving $382,266 that could have been used for health care for women and children rather than for the other 641 abortions.

    Even though the financial aspects are huge, my primary concern is the spirit, souls and bodies of the unborn children and their mothers.

    Working together, let’s ensure that “Denali KidCare” is not Denali KidCare-Less.

    Read more:

    First, the percentage of pregnancies which cause “death or disability” to the mother would be a lot higher than that without medical necessary abortion.  Second, any such percentage would need to be of ALL the pregnancies covered by Denali KidCare, not just those considered medically necessary by the doctors who performed them.  I haven’t been able to find that number, although there are apparently over 13,000 pregnancies annually in the State.


    And although I really, truly sympathize with this lady’s concern about the spirit and souls of strangers, that really isn’t any of her business.