WASHINGTON — Dr. Dean Winslow, nominee for assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, explained his written support for “therapeutic abortions” Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Referencing an advance policy questionnaire Winslow had filled out, Committee Chairman John McCain asked him what he meant by the term.
“This is your quote,” McCain said to Winslow, “‘Therapeutic abortion services should be provided by the military and appropriately staffed facilities.’ What do you mean by that?”
“Again, sir, that was in response to one of the questions I was asked in the larger context of making sure that we adequately provide for women’s health in the military health system,” replied Winslow. “So, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to clarify my statement. First, I want to make it clear that I’m aware of that federal law does not allow military medical treatment facilities or DOD funds to be used to provide abortions except in certain circumstances which I won’t go into.”
“In all cases, patients who wish to obtain an abortion must be referred to a private facility and will not have government funding — taxpayer funding for abortions has been prohibited except in these limited cases for decades. The use the term therapeutic abortion is a common medical term that I should have explained better,” he continued.
Winslow added, “It speaks broadly to abortions performed for a recognized appropriate medical necessity. Generally, when the life of the mother is at risk. That being said, this procedure should only be authorized as prescribed under existing statutory authority.”
Winslow later told the committee he was against civilians owning semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s in a response related to the recent mass shooting in Texas. (RELATED: Trump’s Pentagon Nominee Says It’s ‘Insane’ Civilians Can Buy Assault Rifles)