“I commend both bodies for this action which is so important to the defense of human life,” the cardinal said.
On May 22 the Senate voted 51-48 to maintain the ban on elective abortions at military hospitals overseas, by defeating an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have compelled abortions on demand in such institutions.
The House of Representatives also passed a defense authorization bill the same day, defeating a similar amendment by a 227-201 vote.
The amendments were intended to strike from law a longstanding ban on elective abortions at military hospitals overseas. The existing ban contains exceptions for cases where the mother’s life is endangered or where pregnancy occurred from rape or incest.
Cardinal Bevilacqua, archbishop of Philadelphia, chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities. He had written to both the Senate and House urging rejection of the amendments and retention of the current law.
In a letter to the Senate he warned: “If the amendment becomes law, we would treat the unborn children of our own military personnel in ways we should not treat the children of our worst enemies.”