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Public Papers - 1992 - October

Memorandum of Disapproval for the Military Health Care Initiatives Act of 1992


I am withholding my approval of S. 3144, the ``Military Health Care Initiatives Act of 1992.'' This legislation would substantially change Federal policy with respect to abortion.

S. 3144 would provide that any eligible member of the Armed Forces or dependent ``is entitled'' to obtain an abortion ``in the same manner as any other type of medical care'' at U.S. military facilities overseas. It would thus require these Federal facilities to provide abortion on demand, even as a method of birth control, at least through the sixth month of pregnancy.

Contrary to the claims made by some supporters of this legislation, S. 3144 would establish a rule on the availability of abortions at military facilities overseas more radically pro-abortion than the laws in most parts of the United States. The bill is also broader than the pre-fiscal year 1989 practices of the Armed Services, which had been to provide elective abortions at military facilities with limitations, including restrictions on late-term abortions.

Current DOD policy is to perform abortions only if the life of the mother is threatened. I have repeatedly voiced my strong support for that policy and made clear that any attempt to weaken it would warrant disapproval. Accordingly, I am withholding my approval of S. 3144.

George Bush

The White House,

October 30, 1992.

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