Illinois action blog

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our servicewomen protect our freedom - it's time to return the favor.

Sexual assault has long held a unique place in our nation’s abortion debate – all but the most extreme anti-choice politicians will concede that abortion in the case of rape is a right that ought to be protected.

But while the mainstream American public may consider it an essential freedom, women in military uniform – those who dedicate their lives to fighting for a different type of freedom – are not granted equal access to abortion after sexual assault. According to an article in the Boston Globe, members of the military are the only category of federal employee whose insurance does not cover abortion in instances of rape or incest, even as rape remains an alarming problem within the armed forces. According to the Service Women’s Action Network, an estimated 19,000 instances of sexual assault occurred in the military in 2010 alone.

Fortunately, the US Senate is poised to take up a bill with the power to end this discrimination against American servicewomen by their own government. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire has proposed an amendment to the 2012 defense appropriations bill expanding medical coverage for military women to include abortion for victims of rape or incest, closing a loophole that has been allowed to remain on the books for far too long. While military authorities have a long way to go in fixing the larger problem of sexual assault among men and women in uniform, Sen. Shaheen’s amendment is an important step towards addressing the needs and rights of military women they deserve.

We at Planned Parenthood call upon members of the US Senate to give women in the armed forces the same rights as the civilians they protect. We encourage you to do the same – click here to send a message through the ACLU to your elected representative!

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, abortion


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