Great News: Senate Votes Unanimously to Expand Rights of Military Women
Great news out of the United States Senate! The Senate voted 98-0 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, including the Shaheen Amendment which will grant military women insurance coverage for a wide range of reproductive health care services, including abortion when a pregnancy results from rape or incest.
Under current policy, if a woman in the military is raped and wants a safe and legal abortion she must pay for it on her own dime — without insurance coverage and off base. The Shaheen amendment is the first step to correcting this injustice; assuring women in the military receive the same rights and freedoms that they fight for each and every day.
Just as all other federal employees on government-sponsored health care plans receive coverage for a safe and legal abortion in cases of rape or incest, women in the military deserve this same critical protection. The Shaheen amendment brings military health care in line with the rest of the federal government, and insures that they will be able to make their own personal, private medical choices without the interference of politicians.
Military women who leave their homes and families and risk everything shouldn’t be forced to give up their rights in the process. As many as 19,000 military women are sexually assaulted each year, Planned Parenthood has been working to protect their rights to a safe and legal abortion, but the fight is not over.
The House has also passed the NDAA, but without this critical protection. So, as the House and Senate go to conference to reconcile this bill, we must continue to speak out on to ensure that the Shaheen amendment remains in the final version sent to President Obama for his signature.