House Votes to Overturn Pentagon Abortion Policy

( – President Joe Biden’s administration responded to the Supreme Court reversing federal protection for abortion by ordering the Department of Defense to issue a new policy. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the Pentagon would pay for service members or their dependents to travel to obtain abortions. House Republicans have now voted to overturn the policy.

On Thursday, June 13, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) allowed lawmakers to vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to rescind the Pentagon’s policy that requires the Department to reimburse the travel expenses for service members who seek reproductive care, including terminations. The amendment passed by 214 to 207, almost along party lines. One Democrat voted with Republicans and two members of the GOP caucus voted with Democrats.

Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) spoke on the House floor and called the policy “taxpayer-funded abortion” which has been illegal since 1977 when the government passed the Hyde Amendment. She explained that the Department of Defense is further stretching its resources to “underwrite abortions through funding for flights and hotels” and accused the Pentagon of “pandering to the abortion lobby” and doesn’t help national security.

The proposal has the potential to destroy the bipartisanship that was evident in the Armed Services Committee last month when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle voted to pass the $895 billion bill. Johnson allowed Republicans to move forward with the partisan amendment and others despite the warnings.

Lawmakers voted 216 to 206 to stop diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hires and 211 to 208 to eliminate diversity and inclusion in Defense Department offices. They also passed a measure targeting medical treatments for LGBTQ+ service members. In a 213 to 206 vote, the GOP passed an amendment to prohibit gender-affirming healthcare procedures for transgender troops.

Johnson will now need almost unanimity to pass the NDAA with the various amendments.

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