House Republicans Vote to Limit Access to Reproductive Care for Women in the Military

Pennsylvania Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick and Scott Perry helped pass a defense appropriations bill saddled with a Republican amendment curtailing reproductive freedom for women service members.
Republican PA01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) and Rep. Scott Perry (L). Photo via screenshots.

House Republicans rammed through a bill last week that would make it more difficult for women serving in the military to get reproductive health care. 

Friday’s vote on the annual defense spending bill would have had bipartisan support, but at the last moment, Republican lawmakers ballooned the bill with many amendments that focused on culture war issues. One such amendment attached to the bill was written by Texas Republican Rep. Beth Van Duyne, who wants to roll back a policy enacted by the Biden Administration that reimburses service members’ travel costs when they leave the base for reproductive care – including abortions. The amednment was passed with a 214-207 vote.   

The spending bill narrowly passed through Congress 217-199, largely along party lines. Only three Republicans voted against the Act, while six Democrats voted in favor. Republican Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick and Scott Perry helped push the bill over the finish line with their votes. 

PA Republicans Vote on National Defense Authorization Act: Brian Fitzpatrick (yes), John Joyce (yes), Mike Kelly (yes), Daniel Meuser (yes), Scott Perry (yes), Guy Reschenthaler (yes), Lloyd Smucker (yes), Glenn Thompson (yes).

PA Democrats Vote on National Defense Authorization Act: Brendan Boyle (No), Matt Cartwright (No), Madeleine Dean (No), Chris Deluzio (No),  Dwight Evans (Not Voting), Chrissy Houlahan (No), Summer Lee (No), Mary Gay Scanlon (No), Susan Wild (No).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was very quick to criticize Perry for his vote in support of the amendment. 

READ: Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick Is A Loyal Soldier in the Crusade to End Reproductive Freedom and Ban Abortion 

“If it’s a day that ends in ‘Y’, Scott Perry will vote for national abortion restrictions,” said DCCC Spokesperson Aidan Johnson on Friday. “He is more interested in attacking the reproductive freedoms of our country’s service members than ensuring our troops have the support they need, and Pennsylvanians won’t forget how wrong Perry’s attacks are when they head to the polls in November.”

While Perry has recently claimed not to back a federal abortion ban, he has gone out of his way to severely limit the rights of people seeking abortions – including co-sponsoring a bill for a  national abortion ban since 2018. Perry did this again just last year, when he was one of 125 Republicans to sponsor the Life at Conception Act, which states that “the right to life…  is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”

The bill does include that women cannot be prosecuted for “any death of her unborn child,” but there are no explicit exceptions for IVF, which is a concern for pro-choice activists after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through IVF should be considered children.

READ: Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry Doesn’t Want to Help Military Families, Again

Last week, Perry was also named to the House Intelligence Committee by House Speaker Mike Johnson, a move which angered even many Republicans who saw the appointment as a way for Johnson to appease Freedom Caucus Republicans from trying to remove leaders from office. Other Republicans felt that Perry should have been disqualified from the role for his polarizing past, which includes trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The bill will now head to the Democratic-controlled Senate, which will likely be very critical of the culture war baggage attached to the act, including restrictions for military members seeking abortions and gender affirming care, and defunding the military’s DEI program.

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Aidan Tyksinski

Aidan Tyksinki is a recent graduate from La Salle Univeristy in Philadelphia, where he majored in media and journalism and minored in political science. Before writing for the Beacon, he had work published for National Collegiate Rugby as well as his school paper The Collegian, where he was the editor for the sports section and contributer in the politics section.

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