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Senate Panel Backs Expanded Abortion Coverage For Military Women

Senate Panel Backs Expanded Abortion Coverage For Military Women

This week the Senate Armed Services committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that eliminates the ban on insurance coverage of abortion care for military women and dependents who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

This was the second time Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the amendment. Anti-choice senators originally blocked it from being heard last November when the NDAA was first enacted.

Under the current law, the Department of Defense only offers insurance coverage for abortion services to military women when their lives are at risk. They do not provide such coverage in the case of pregnancies from rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly or birth control failure.

Of the nearly 400,000 women in the military one in three will be sexually assaulted while serving. There’s a significant amount of justice in finally moving on amendment.

The full measure now heads to the Senate floor for passage.

Despite the fact that this is a significant step in the right direction for women in the military, we need to be clear about what the Shaheen amendment provides. The amendment simply mirrors the Hyde Amendment which means that military-provided insurance plans now have the same health care options as civilian women with government health care plans. So while this is good news for military women because they or their dependents will no longer be forced to pay out of pocked for an abortion after rape or incest, the reality remains that access to affordable abortion care remains out of reach for many of the women who need it most and collectively this country has decided that is acceptable.

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Photo from The US Army via flickr.

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36 comments

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1:31PM PDT on May 27, 2012

what was the vote breakdown? That would have been interesting info, not hard to see this as what it likely is though, a ploy by one party in an attempt to embarrass another and thus has no chance of accomplishing a damn thing.

is this the same Senate though that has yet to propose or vote FOR a budget in 3 years? A budget that would pay for such a plan? Is this the same Senate that has refused to support even their own President's budgets? Yep

so while refusing to do their mandated duties they have time to grandstand on this...and whats more Care2 finds it actually noteworthy. Says a lot.

10:41AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Health care coverage is simply that, and needs to be strong and generous to the people who put their lives on the line for this nation. Period. Why someone chooses an abortion doesn't matter. The fact is that it is a medical procedure they have the right to have---I am a woman, a Christian and a veteran. This is a small step, but a good one. We need to take care of our own.

And Shar and Eric--if you don't like it here, feel free to leave.

Our nation may not be perfect, but those that risk all by putting their name on a blank check for Uncle Sam to write out deserve respect, not to be treated like trash. I wonder what Shar and Eric and all those who feel our nation is trash are doing to fix it--besides giving inflammatory speeches...that carry no risk to themselves---sad cowardly people...

also--please note --male members of the military also get raped, and no one stands up for them either.

3:47AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Edith K - Perhaps you should read my previous comments first

1:45AM PDT on May 27, 2012

It should be covered in all circumstances! It's the woman's body and HER life. If men had to carry a rapists baby, I bet they'd be all for insurance coverage.

1:40AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Those are some scary statistics about rape in the military.

1:30AM PDT on May 27, 2012

Some of the Republicans seem to think that when women sign up to serve, they should expect to be raped during their active service. This is appalling. Until the male military members learn that women are not there to service them as well as serve their countries, women will always be at risk. But we need to work on fixing this problem, not keep women out of military jobs, just because their male counterparts can't control their sexual desires. So, until we can get these men educated or disqualified from being allowed to serve with female counterparts, all services must be made available to the women who are victims of unwanted advances, and be given whatever they need to never have to carry an unwanted child to term.

9:52PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Elaine...read what I said to Sandy E..other than the quiverfiul, the rest is a question to you. If Republicans get in in November, then you'll support the women being raped in the military, right? They certainly do, so that means you will go along with it. We already knew you have a big case of penis envy and even now, look like a drag queen, so I guess you support the men raping your fellow sisters, huh? You come her daily and are against everything that will protect and help women. Everyone knows this and we can only wonder why you hate being a woman so much...maybe you should look into getting that much desired sex change that all of us think you desire.

9:49PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Eric H., so the right to rape and pillage goes with being in the military? Are you serious?

8:48PM PDT on May 26, 2012

thanks for article

8:14PM PDT on May 26, 2012

Carole L.
You must have heard of rape and pillage. It is something soldiers throughout the ages have been known for. Indeed, it was in the past a fairly persuasive motive to become one.

That is my point, is it not. Why are these women hanging out with those types of people. Why would anyone with peace and a secure future for all take a job where their own male co-workers are notorious for raping them?

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