The Coast Guard, in lockstep with the Department of Defense, will give its personnel non-chargeable leave to get an abortion along with travel money to get there. The Coast Guard released ALCOAST 087-23 which states, “Service members may be granted an administrative absence from their normal duty station to receive, or to accompany a dual-military spouse or a dependent who receives, non-covered reproductive health care without loss of pay or earned leave.”
Non-covered reproductive health care is defined further down in the ALCOAST message as “lawfully available assisted reproductive technology and non-covered abortion.”
What the Law Says
Section 1093 of title 10 of the United States Code “prohibits the use of Department of Defense funds to perform abortions except where the life of a woman would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.” When a service member is given non-chargeable leave, that means they are not required to use the 30 days of leave they are given every year, and they’re allowed to be absent from duty.
Some would argue that funds aren’t being directly allocated to the service member, effectually making the non-chargeable leave compliant with law. Yet if one considers the service member as a salaried employee who is being given “free leave” of which other service members who are required to be on duty aren’t receiving, then it’s clear that tax payer funds are essentially being laundered for the purpose of receiving an abortion. I’m sure some healthy debates could be had over this subject, but to make the violation more clear, let’s look closer at the Coast Guard’s message.
According to section five of the ALCOAST, “Service members and authorized dependents may be eligible for travel and transportation allowances to receive non-covered reproductive health care service when timely access to reproductive health care services is not available within the local area of the member’s PDS (permanent duty station), TDY location, or the last location to which the dependent was transported on Government orders.”
It’s Clearly in Black and White
There is no debate as to whether the Coast Guard is violating the law with these allowances at this point. They specifically state that travel and transportation allowances (money) may be given to the service member to receive an abortion. The money is paying for the travel, and the travel wouldn’t be taking place if it weren’t for the purpose of the abortion. The message also doesn’t specify that it would only be for situations where the life of a woman would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term as the law states. It gives blanket allowance to the service member getting paid, with federal tax payer funds, for the sole purpose of traveling to get an abortion.
What’s clear to me is the DOD as a whole (well aware the Coast Guard is under DHS, but also not when it suits them…) has become more emboldened with the semantics and word salads they’ve mixed up over the last two years to move in and out of the law. They know, I know you, and you know, they’re breaking the law. Shaping the wording for public perception, while still violating the intent, would never fly in court. My hope is for more citizens to contact their representatives and demand our military follow the law, while simultaneously suing the DOD (and DHS and whoever else) to put these violations in front of federal judges. If you don’t want your taxes to be used for abortions, then do something about it.