Military Abortion Ban in Cases of Rape and Incest

November 13, 2012

More than 400,000 women serve in the armed forces and put their safety and lives at risk to preserve and protect our freedom. Yet these women are denied coverage for the same health care available to the civilians they protect.

Today, federal insurance coverage is only available for abortion care for servicewomen and military dependents when the woman’s life is in danger. Servicewomen and members of military families seeking abortion care after rape or incest must pay out-of-pocket for the care they may need. This is contrary to other federal health insurance programs which are prohibited from providing funding for abortion care but, unlike the military, most contain an exception for pregnancy resulting from rape and incest.

On May 24, 2012 the Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) offered by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would reverse this policy and allow military women and dependents to receive insurance coverage of abortion in cases of rape or incest. The amendment was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 16-10.

Soon, Congress is expected to debate the NDAA, deciding which provisions will be included in the final bill and which will not . We are asking that they include the rape/incest coverage provision in the  defense bill that will be passed by Congress.

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