ACLU Urges Members of Congress to Oppose NDAA Amendments Attacking Civil Rights, Health Care, and Civil Liberties

July 13, 2023 5:00 pm

WASHINGTON — In a letter sent to congressional offices today, the American Civil Liberties Union strongly urged members to oppose a series of proposed amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that seek to undermine protections against race discrimination in the military, restrict abortion access, deny health coverage to transgender service members and military families, and censor protected speech. The debate is during the same week when Sen. Tommy Tuberville defended white supremacists in the military and blocked military promotions as part of his campaign to get the military to deny reproductive health care to service members and their families.

“These amendments are a callous and cynical effort to hijack the nation’s defense budget to upend protections against race discrimination in the military, ban abortion, and target transgender service members and their families,” said Christopher Anders, Federal Policy Director for the ACLU. “Congress should be a defender of liberty and the Constitution, but any member who approves of these amendments will undermine both. Like the inflammatory comments from Sen. Tuberville earlier this week, these amendments reflect a narrow and racist vision for our military that most Americans do not share.”

The proposed amendments would:

  • Restrict access to abortion and reproductive health care for active duty members of the military by denying travel support;
  • Block service members or their family members who are transgender from accessing gender-affirming health care through TRICARE and the Exceptional Family Member Program;
  • Abolish established programs developed by uniformed and civilian leadership to end racism and other discrimination in the military through proven diversity, equity, and inclusion programming;
  • Prohibit the renaming of military facilities currently named for members of the Confederacy and other defenders of slavery and racism;
  • Ban books available in schools serving the children of military families;
  • Selectively penalize contractors who participate in boycotts against Israel;
  • Misdirect service academies admissions, infringing on academic research and speech rights; and
  • Facilitate the further militarization and weaponization of state and local police.

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