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Pentagon announces it’ll continue ‘essential’ abortions for troops

A photo of military boots during the deployment ceremony for the Alabama Army National Guard 128th Military Police Company leaving for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Bob Gathany/HVT/TNS)
June 28, 2022

President Joe Biden’s Department of Defense (DoD) announced on Tuesday that it will continue to perform “essential” abortions on troops, dependents and other beneficiaries. The announcement comes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, ruling that abortion is not a constitutional right.

According to a DoD memo obtained by ABC News reporter Matt Seyler, the department claimed that overturning of Roe v. Wade “does not prohibit” it from “continuing to perform” certain abortions “consistent with federal law.”

“Federal law restricts the Department from performing abortions or paying to have them performed unless the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest,” the memo stated. “There will be no interruption to this care.”

The memo stated that the DoD’s “longstanding position” generally bars states from imposing “criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law.”

The DoD also claimed that the Supreme Court’s decision does not affect current policies that allows service members to travel for “abortion care.”

“As always, we will take every action within our authority to ensure the safety and health of each and every member of our team,” the memo concluded.

Immediately following the court’s decision last week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tweeted that he is “committed” to providing America’s troops with “reproductive health care” – a common euphemism for abortion.  

“Nothing is more important to me or to this Department than the health and well-being of our Service members, the civilian workforce, and DOD families. I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our Force,” he tweeted.

“The Department is examining this decision closely and evaluating our policies to ensure we continue to provide seamless access to reproductive health care as permitted by federal law.”

Also on Friday, Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland released a statement attacking the Supreme Court’s decision and vowing to protect access to the FDA-approved abortion pill, which currently provides a loophole to abortions.

“The Justice Department strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision. This decision deals a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States. It will have an immediate and irreversible impact on the lives of people across the country. And it will be greatly disproportionate in its effect – with the greatest burdens felt by people of color and those of limited financial means,” Garland’s statement read.