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Requiring personnel in military hospitals to perform or participate in abortions would place "a very heavy burden" on those in the armed forces who value human life, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services told U.S. senators. "The United States is one of the few nations in the world based on self-evident principles: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," the archbishop said in a June 17 letter. "Constraining the very men and women committed to defending those principles for the rest of the country to act against their consciences violates the foundation of this republic." Archbishop Broglio was commenting on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2011 that would require military hospitals to perform abortions in both domestic and overseas military bases. He was joined in opposition to the amendment by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, who said in a June 29 letter to senators that the proposal breaks with long-standing federal and military policies on government promotion of abortion. The cardinal also dismissed suggestions that the amendment was "moderate" because it requires patients at military facilities to pay for their own abortions. "Which is a more direct government involvement in abortion: That the government reimburses someone else for having done an abortion, or that the government performs the abortion itself and accepts payment for doing so?" he asked.

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