Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) suggested moving 128 military bases solely because they were located in red states that banned abortion.
Speier took to the House floor on Tuesday with a color-coded map showing which states had already moved to further restrict abortion or ban it entirely following the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — which resulted in the overturning of landmark abortion rulings in both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Rep. Jackie speier (D-CA): "We have 128 military bases in red states that ban abortion. Maybe we should just move these bases." pic.twitter.com/hXv94AbOyd
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 20, 2022
Speier noted that in the wake of the decision, the Department of Defense (DoD) might be required torrent leave or pay travel expenses for service members who needed “abortion care” – and then appeared to argue that because some service members might now be required to travel to another state for abortions, it would make more sense to simply move all military bases into states where they were legal.
“There’s a part of me that says we have 128 bases and installations in these red states, in these states that ban abortion,” Speier said. “Maybe we should just move these bases.”
After a long pause, Speier continued, “Now, that’s highly unlikely because we’ve invested so much, but it just begs the question about what are we really all about if we’re going to treat these service women so poorly?”
What Speier did not mention was the fact that the Department of Defense — while allowing for leave time and travel for service members who did require abortion services — actually places greater restrictions on abortions than a number of the red states she was complaining about.
As noted in a memo from Under-Secretary of Defense Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., immediately following the Dobbs decision, the DoD only funds — or allows military doctors to perform — abortions under very specific circumstances.
“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 (‘covered abortions’),” the memo read in part. “The Supreme Court’s decision does not prohibit the Department from continuing to perform covered abortions, consistent with federal law. There will be no interruption to this care.”