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The fate of unborn millions

Will the House majority push back against the radical abortion agenda forced on the military?

President Joe Biden talks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after the State of the Union address on Feb. 7. Jacquelyn Martin, pool

The fate of unborn millions
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In 1776, George Washington rallied the spirits of his troops with these timeless words: “The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”

Though facing the overwhelming military might of the greatest imperial power of the day, the Americans fighting behind the revolutionary banner made a heroic stand in Long Island, New York, believing in the righteousness and importance of their cause.

Today, the “fate of unborn millions” still depends on the conduct of our military, but with an ironic and tragic twist: The Department of Defense is now facilitating abortions, providing extra paid leave for service members, their spouses, or dependents seeking an abortion and reimbursing their travel expenses. In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022, which overturned Roe v. Wade, many states used their newly recognized ability to enact laws protecting the rights of the unborn. In response, the Biden administration announced that it would do everything in its power (even violating legal statutes and policies) to facilitate abortions for those in pro-life states. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs (VA) have been the vanguard of this effort, with VA facilities even flouting the law directly by offering abortions on-site in pro-life states.

For decades, the Hyde amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funding for abortion, was understood to extend to these abortion benefits now being promoted by the military. But the scope of the amendment has been diminished significantly by the Biden administration, which is yet another tragedy, given Biden’s previous support for the bipartisan policy. It also represents a further shift of the Democratic policy agenda from left-of-center to extremely progressive (even as more Americans oppose taxpayer funding of abortion than supported Biden for president).

As the Biden administration continues to use the military to advance its ideological agenda, morale in the armed services is plummeting. Recruitment is at an all-time low, even as the military offers extensive new benefits and loosens its eligibility requirements. Last year, the Army was projected  to fall short by over 10,000 soldiers, even though it had already lowered its recruitment goals.

In the House, there are enough votes for pro-lifers to do more than serve as gadflies.

The Department of Defense’s abortion push is just the latest and bleakest example of an effort to satisfy progressives in Biden’s base, which has also included mandating politically divisive training in Critical Race Theory and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, as well as the now-rescinded COVID vaccination mandate. America’s progressive elites want the military to reflect its personal values even though they are far from representing the core of Americans who serve in uniform (which is much more conservative).

Facilitating abortion is not only wrong, it also undermines the military’s ability to carry out its core purposes. How can our military prevail if it does not believe, as Washington’s troops did, that its cause is just? Though the Biden administration refuses to read the writing on the wall, Congress can force him to take heed with its filibuster power in the Senate and pro-life majority in the House of Representatives.

While there are not enough pro-life votes in the Senate to force the issue, senators can make things extremely painful for the Biden administration by jamming a spoke in the nominations process for abortion-promoting agencies, which requires the unanimous consent of all Senators to proceed smoothly. While traditionally Defense nominees have not been held up by the party out of power, Biden has inappropriately politicized the Department of Defense and Republicans need to treat his nominees accordingly. Coach Tuberville (the Alabama senator insists on using his football title instead of his congressional one) is already doing this with respect to Department of Defense nominations. More pro-life senators should join him.

In the House, there are enough votes for pro-lifers to do more than serve as gadflies. Funding for abortion leave and travel expenses must be approved by regular appropriations by Congress. The Framers of our Constitution called this the “power of the purse” and referred to it as the “most complete and effectual weapon … for obtaining a redress of every grievance.” Republicans won their majority in the House through the votes of pro-life Americans. House Republicans must now use their own votes to end this abortion funding.

It may be that the fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of every member of the House majority. Human lives now depend on their courage and conviction.

Katelyn Walls Shelton

Katelyn Walls Shelton is a Bioethics Fellow at the Paul Ramsey Institute. She is a women’s health policy consultant who previously worked to promote the well-being of women and the unborn at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She graduated from Yale Divinity School and Union University and lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, John, and their three children.


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