DOD Woke Agenda

Editorial Board got it wrong: McCarthy is not extremist on military bill

Good example of writing a letter to the Editor or an op-ed to your local news media:

By John Gerardi

The defense bill that Kevin McCarthy and his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives passed does not hurt America’s military.

The Fresno Bee in its recent editorial mischaracterized McCarthy as prioritizing extremist, anti-“woke” activism over the military’s greater good.

In actuality, the GOP bill is a defensive measure to utilize the House’s power of the purse to resist new, highly unpopular actions from the Biden Department of Defense.

One of the measures in the McCarthy bill involves cutting off funding for a new policy to offer additional leave, along with travel, lodging, and meals costs for service members to obtain out-of-state abortions.

This applies to military members serving in states that have put abortion restrictions in place over the last year (e.g., Texas, Alabama, etc.). Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin enacted the measure after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

This is an incredibly generous leave policy.

For context, a soldier whose parent has died will not receive additional paid leave or coverage of travel or other such expenses, nor will soldiers seeking other kinds of elective procedures out-of-state.

The Bee’s editorial gave the specific example that Speaker McCarthy’s bill would prevent a female soldier from obtaining a medically necessary abortion.

This example is specifically incorrect.

Every state that has passed legal restrictions on abortion has provided exceptions for abortion when maternal life is at risk.

Medical interventions like premature delivery due to cardiac emergencies or pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy treatment, or a dilation and curettage procedure following miscarriage are legally and ethically distinct from the direct, procured abortion of a living human fetus or embryo.

Austin’s policy is, as a result, likely exclusively going to pay for service members seeking abortions that are not medically necessary.

Instead of focusing on abortion, the military should ensure for its service members adequate prenatal care, appropriate parental leave, and overall support for pregnant service members.

Motherhood and pregnancy should not be viewed as obstacles incompatible with military service.

The Bee also objects to the McCarthy bill refusing to fund gender transition surgeries for military members.

These are expensive procedures that can involve severe complications and lengthy recovery times — all of this, for a member of the armed forces who may only be serving for a limited term.

Many of these interventions are irreversible, and can leave “de-transitioners” (persons who later regret an attempted gender transition) in a terrible situation.

The federal taxpayer should not be forced to fund these elective, highly controversial interventions.

Both of these issues touch on a broader point.

Certainly the military is obliged to pay for basic health-care coverage for its service members, but abortion and transgender procedures are rightly distinct from basic medical care.

In the vast majority of cases, induced abortion is not chosen because of a health risk, but rather for non-medical, social motivations like finances, not wanting more children, or lack of partner support.

Similarly, hormonal or surgical transgender interventions generally do not involve correcting something medically wrong or unhealthy with the body, but rather altering the body to try to make it match a perceived self-identity.

Opposing taxpayer funding for these interventions is not, as the Bee claims, an “extremist” view, but the majority view.

Sixty percent of Americans still oppose federal funding of abortion, and only 27% of Americans think insurance should be required to cover gender transitions.

Finally, The Bee objected to the McCarthy bill attacking military DEI (“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”) initiatives, which allegedly is going to hurt military recruiting.

DEI departments are a relatively new phenomenon sweeping through academia and corporate settings over the last decade or so.

The chief function of such departments is to impose the latest left-wing orthodoxies on issues of race and gender throughout an institution, stigmatizing the views of anyone to the right of Hillary Clinton.

The military is required to follow federal anti-discrimination law in all its facets.

It has provided, and still can recruit soldiers effectively with, a diverse, respectful, welcoming environment. It does not need more novel, inevitably politicized DEI initiatives to achieve that goal.

It is precisely during the DEI-obsessed Biden administration that the military has seen a downturn in recruiting.

The Bee ascribes McCarthy’s bill to the “extremist” demands of the hard-right fringe of GOP House members, whom McCarthy must allegedly placate to preserve his narrow hold on the speakership.

But in all of these cases — DEI, travel and lodging for abortion, transgender surgeries — Republicans are simply pushing back on recent, aggressive, unpopular policy advances by the left. McCarthy is not the extremist here.

First published in The Fresno Bee

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