Congress Extends Abortion Coverage to Peace Corps Volunteers

December 13, 2014 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Congress today passed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, which included a provision to provide Peace Corps volunteers and trainees the same insurance coverage for abortion care that all federal employees receive. The fix, which received bipartisan support from House and Senate members, finally lifts the extreme ban on abortion coverage in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.

"This long-awaited step by Congress will ensure that Peace Corps volunteers are provided basic reproductive health coverage that is extended to other women with federal health care plans," said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. "Every woman should have the reproductive coverage she needs, and the brave women of the Peace Corps should no longer be unfairly targeted for inequitable treatment."

While there is still much work to be done to ensure that all women have access to safe and comprehensive reproductive health care, today’s fix corrects a policy that for too long has singled out women serving in the Peace Corps with a total ban on abortion coverage even in the narrow circumstances of rape, incest, and life endangerment. This coverage is particularly crucial because women make up nearly two thirds of all Peace Corps volunteers, and often serve in countries where safe and reliable medical care is hard to come by.

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