(The Daily Signal) – A military officer is retiring from service in protest against the Biden administration’s abortion policies.
According to Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Col. Dillon R. Patterson voluntarily resigned from his position as the commander of the 188th Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard on Dec. 18.
In a letter Sanders addressed to President Joe Biden and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, she explained, “Unfortunately, Col. Patterson was forced to personally choose between either continuing his command or adhering to his sincerely held religious beliefs against abortion.”
She continued, “Because he adhered first to his faith instead of overtly political mandates, he voluntarily resigned his command. I admire Col. Patterson for having the confidence of his convictions, but regret that our nation’s military will suffer the loss of a dedicated airman, leader, and guardsman as a commander.”
The policy Sanders referred to is a decision Biden made in 2022 to use taxpayer dollars in the Department of Defense to fund travel for military personnel to obtain abortions if they are stationed in states where abortion is restricted or banned.
“Maybe equally egregious,” Sanders added, “the DoD now requires that commanding officers—regardless of any sincere and deeply held religious convictions to the contrary—are forced to approve such abortion leave.”
Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, commented to The Washington Stand, “Col. Patterson showed great moral courage by refusing to be a part of an institution that would require he violate his conscience and religious convictions by facilitating abortion-related travel.”
She added, “At the same time, the U.S. military needs to recognize that this is a great loss. Enforcing evil policies that violate the conscience of faithful Christians will inevitably cause the military to lose good personnel with integrity.”
Sanders made a similar point in her letter, noting that on a national level the Air National Guard failed to meet its most recent recruiting goals by a staggering margin of 40%. She wrote, “At a time when nearly every military branch has failed to meet recruiting thresholds, it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible and shortsighted bureaucratic mandate.”
Arkansas, like many other states, chose to do so—protecting unborn life by prohibiting abortions which are not medical necessities for the sake of the mother. … Abortion itself is a barbaric practice. But it is apparently not enough for this administration that abortion be available in some states and regulated in others. Thus, the Department of Defense must now apparently sacrifice lifelong personnel’s leadership in the name of military readiness—a laughable paradox if it were not so deeply offensive and damaging.
Sanders concluded her letter, “Col. Patterson’s only fault was being a man of conviction led by senior Department of Defense leadership who had disregarded his service and abandoned his most fundamental constitutional rights in favor of more fashionable political and social experiments. Rescind this policy immediately.”
She also sent her letter to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the secretary of the Air Force, and other top military officials.