In an article posted yesterday, the Associated Press called us “indignant critics” and included us among the main groups pushing to change the U.S. military’s health plan so that it covers abortion for servicewomen who are victims of rape and incest – a change that could have been made by an amendment blocked by a House committee this week. The piece quoted our own Vania Leveille and Laura Murphy, discussing the egregious nature of the House committee vote and what comes next:
ACLU legislative counsel Vania Leveille said the effort to change the policy would now shift to the Democratic-controlled Senate, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., offering to work on the issue. Leveille also said the Obama administration would be asked to engage more actively in trying to make the change.What Laura said is the dead-on truth: The fact that servicewomen cannot use their health insurance for abortion care in cases of rape and incest is even more outrageous when you consider the horrifyingly high rates sexual assault that occur to women in the armed forces. That this House committee not only blocked an amendment that would fix this situation, but did so on a voice vote, without the courage to link their names to their positions, is just plain wrong. We owe it to our servicewomen to get this right in the Senate.
"What happened in the House was wrong," Leveille said. "Every member of Congress says they support military women, but it's hard to reconcile with that action. For them to turn their backs is incredibly frustrating."
[…]Our servicewomen "serve valiantly even while they continue to experience sexual assault at shockingly high rates," said Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington legislative office.