Tuesday, May 24, 2011

House Committee Refuses to End Ban on Abortion Coverage for Military Women Who Are Raped

ACLU press release: House Fails to Reverse Ban on Abortion Coverage for Military Women Who are Raped:

WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Rules today rejected an important amendment to the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) that would have ended an unconscionable ban on insurance coverage of abortion care for military women and dependents in cases of rape and incest. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Robert D. Andrews (D-N.J.), Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

The United States provides health insurance for members of the armed forces and their families through the Department of Defense’s Military Health System. By federal statute, the department is barred from covering abortion care except when a pregnant woman’s life is endangered. Unlike the other federal bans on abortion coverage, the military ban provides no exception for cases of rape and incest.

More than 400,000 women currently serve in the armed forces in some capacity. After joining the military, a woman’s risk of being sexually assaulted doubles and the likelihood that a woman will be assaulted more than once is particularly high. A study from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that 37 percent of military rape victims experience multiple rapes and 14 percent experience gang rape. . . .

See also: ACLU Blog of Rights: Unequal Sacrifice: U.S. Servicewomen Denied Equal Health Coverage, by Mike Pheneger:

Michael E. Pheneger, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), is the President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. He frequently serves as a spokesperson on civil liberties issues — particularly those involving the nexus between civil liberties and national security. He has spoken widely on the USA Patriot Act, torture, Guantanamo, and warrantless wiretapping, among other issues. Col. Pheneger spent 30 years on active duty as a US Army Intelligence Officer, retiring in 1993.

As Memorial Day approaches, it is a perfect time to reflect on what we owe the members of our Armed Forces and things we can do to improve their lot.

As a retired Army colonel with 30 years on active duty, I keep a close eye on issues that relate to military readiness and support for our men and women in uniform. It is for that reason that the Davis-Andrews-DeGette-Maloney-Sanchez-Slaughter Amendment, which would reinstate coverage for abortion for military women who have been victimized by rape, is of particular interest.

This is not a radical amendment; it ensures that we take care of military women who have been impregnated through rape by providing them with the same medical support already available to many civilians. . . .


Abortion, Congress, Sexual Assault | Permalink

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