I, having been appointed a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…so help me God.” I spoke these words on 17 April, 2020, at a small ceremony at the United States Air Force Academy as I was commissioned to serve as an officer in the Air Force.

My classmates and I, along with the rest of the world, were in the middle of the so-called “Covid-19 pandemic,” and my family and closest friends had to watch me commission and graduate over an internet feed instead of being there in person. I made the Sign of the Cross as I walked in front of the internet camera to flash my diploma across the screen, as a display that God’s grace had been the main driving force behind my graduation from the United States Air Force Academy and my commissioning.

Little did I know that less than two years later I would be faced with ethical dilemmas and downright disillusionment with Department of Defense policy specifically relating to abortion. As a devoted Catholic, serving in what some had tried to pawn off as an organization prizing “integrity, service, and excellence,” I began to face an interior struggle about whether I could ethically continue serving. This struggle has only intensified. Little did I know that life itself would be under attack by the organization that vows to defend it.

I write this not to seek pity or draw attention to myself. Rather, I write this as a vignette to demonstrate what the American taxpayer is funding — and what American servicemen and women are faced with simply by putting on the uniform. I write this, ultimately, in an attempt to defend life against an enemy that is indeed becoming increasingly more domestic.

The first strike against the DoD came within the context of the “Covid regime.” The United States military ordered all service members to subject themselves to an experimental medical treatment that they called a “vaccine,” an illegal order in and of itself since the shot was authorized “under emergency use authorization” only.

Combine the illegality of this order with the newness of the treatment and that would be enough for many to say “no” — if only that were a possibility. Of course, the development and testing of the shots had a remote link to abortion as well, as part of a greater pharmaceutical industry that fuels itself by preying on the lives of the voiceless and most innocent.

Fortunately, there was an administrative action that served as a legitimate recourse for servicemembers who opposed the shot for religious reasons: a religious accommodation request. As a devout Catholic who prizes my allegiance and love for Christ above all else in my life, I had qualms about the mandated nature of the shot due to its interference with exercising personal conscience—along with concerns about the shot’s lack of credible efficacy.

More than that, though, was the fact that all three major shots in circulation (from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson) had utilized cell lines from aborted fetal tissue in their production and testing in one way or another. How could I, in good conscience, take an untested, unproven, mandated, abortion-tainted pseudo-medical treatment? Thousands of other servicemembers were in the same boat.

I submitted my accommodation after going through a rigorous process, only to get a rejection nearly five months later. I appealed that denial, was subsequently denied again, and given the option to take the shot, apply to separate, or resist the (illegal) order and face administrative action.

I chose to separate, only to find out a few months after that I would not be authorized to do so. Around the same time, an injunction prohibiting separation for those who had submitted accommodations came down, thanks be to God, and at long last the mandate was officially dropped just a few weeks ago. End of story on the DoD/abortion-machine collaboration, right?

If only — and Lord have mercy. As I sit here writing this from my desk, on duty on an active Air Force installation, I am more disgruntled with the DoD/abortion-machine collaboration than ever before, and my heart is broken. According to the Military Times, the DoD recently released three new policies “aimed at closing some of the gaps that the overturn of Roe v. Wade opened up in service members’ ability to access reproductive health care.”

To put it more plainly, the DoD will fund transportation, lodging, and meal costs incurred for troops to go out of state to get an abortion, also affording them up to three weeks of nonchargeable leave. (As an insight, one generally has to use chargeable leave to miss a Friday of work for a funeral for a grandparent or cousin or family member that is not immediate.)

Military personnel must obtain their commander’s approval for this travel, “but the policy is written to urge approval authorities to grant requests without interference.” What would a well-meaning Catholic, or anyone opposed to abortion, do as a commander, should he or she find themselves in such a position of “approve or else?….”

Original story in Crisis magazine

Samuel Krebs is an officer in the United States Air Force stationed in Wichita, Kansas. He can be reached at skre97@gmail.com.