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ACLU Lens: Chicago Sun-Times Weighs in on Indefensible Military Abortion Policy

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September 22, 2011

The Chicago Sun-Times today has a terrific editorial on a thoroughly unfair military policy regarding servicewomen who are the victims of rape.

As it stands now, the military provides health insurance for members of the Armed Forces and their families but, by federal statute, the Department of Defense is barred from providing coverage for abortion care except where a pregnant woman’s life is endangered. Despite the fact that other federal bans on abortion coverage provide an exception for cases of rape and incest, the military does not.

Currently, there are more than 400,000 women serving our country in our Armed Forces. Each one of them faces a disturbingly higher rate than their civilian counterparts that they will be sexual assaulted. Denying them the same medical care that is available to the civilians they protect is shameful.

The Sun-Times says:

It’s time to reverse this absurd policy and, at a minimum, give servicewomen the same rights as any other woman covered by the federal government. That’s why we’re enthusiastically backing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow for a rape and incest exception. The amendment is expected to be offered in the U.S. Senate soon. We urge Illinois’ two senators to support this basic act of fairness.

This policy is unjust and unfair. The National Defense Authorization Act should be coming to the Senate floor in the coming weeks and the ACLU will continue its push to see this ban repealed.

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