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The defense bill bans abortion travel and transgender treatment

A compromise version of the final defense bill got rid of proposals in the House version that would have barred the Pentagon from funding treatment for transgender troops or abortion travel, even as the GOP defends efforts to eliminate the so-called awakened practices of the Department of Defense (DOD).

The home version of the bill approved in July overturned the Pentagon's abortion travel coverage policy and blocked military insurance from covering sex reassignment surgeries and gender transition hormone treatments, seconds to a copy of the invoice. Republicans in the Democratic-controlled Senate did not to include similar provisions in their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2024, which set conditions for conference committee Republicans to give way as the two chambers crafted the final invoice.

Some Republicans condemned the final version of the compromise.

“Speaker Johnson worked with Chuck Schumer to cut a deal that removes all the abortion and trans surgery bans we passed under President McCarthy,” Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia said in a statement on social media social. “Will the GOP really fund abortion holidays and trans surgeries, fund the Ukraine war, all with a CLEAN FISA extension under President Johnson?”

“So the House GOP will work with the Democrats to pass a crappy, watered down NDAA (lose most of the things we fought for: abortion, transgender, CRT/DEI) along with a nearly 4 month extension of FISA (spying on Americans). no reforms yet)?” Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said in a statement to X, formerly Twitter.

In a near-party line vote in July, the House ruled 221 to 213 on an amendment that would bar the Department of Defense (DOD) from reimbursing service members for travel expenses incurred when they seek abortions and a handful of others reproductive procedures out of state, records show. show. The House also voted 222 to 211 to prevent the DOD's medical plan from paying for sex-change surgeries and hormone therapies in a package designed to keep GOP unity and allow the annual defense policy bill to advance to the House, The New York Times. reported.

“Taxpayer money goes directly to support abortions, and anyone in this chamber who says otherwise is blatantly lying to the American people,” Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, who sponsored the amendmenthe said, according to the NYT.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced in February that the DOD would pay for troops to travel to states that allow abortion and get so-called “reproductive health care” at non-military facilities after the Supreme Court's historic Women's Health Organization Dobbs v. decision. The court gave states the authority to determine abortion restrictions for themselves, triggering concerns in the Pentagon about tightening abortion laws and their impact on the recruitment and retention of women.

Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst driven a separate vote in the Senate to overturn the abortion travel policy in June failed to get the necessary votes.

Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville's bet to hold Major military confirmations until the Pentagon rescinds the policy are also in their final stages. Tuberville surrendered in more than 400 officer promotions, leaving only 11 of the highest positions up for individual confirmation votes in the Senate.

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