Women Military Personnel Continue to Have Restricted Abortion Access
The House last week rejected an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have allowed US servicewomen overseas to use their own funds to obtain abortions at military hospitals. Introduced by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D- CA), the amendment was only narrowly defeated 202-215. The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration. The Senate may act to repeal the current ban on privately funded abortions when the bill reaches the floor.
Pro-choice advocates contend that a continued prohibition on privately funded abortion amounts to sex discrimination. Gloria Feldt, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, also states that it endangers the health of many US servicewomen, as the partial ban “may force a woman to seek inferior medical care at a facility off base, or she may be denied care altogether.” Currently, women military personnel can use their own funds for abortion at a military hospital only in cases of rape or incest. The Department of Defense will only fund abortion procedures if the woman’s life is at risk.
Media Resources: Kaisernetwork.org, Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Reports, 5/10/02; Planned Parenthood Federation of America Press Release, 5/9/02; Feminist Majority