Senate Passes Defense Budget Including Abortion Access
Last night the Senate voted to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, which details the military's budget and spending for 2013 and expands servicewomen's right to abortion access.
The NDAA would extend insurance coverage for abortion to military women who were raped. Currently, federal law prohibits servicewomen from using their insurance to cover an abortion for a pregnancy resulting from rape, forcing them to pay for the procedure out of pocket. The NDAA was approved with 98 votes in favor of its passage and zero against. Two senators, Kirk (R-IL) and Rockefeller (D-WV), did not participate in the vote.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the sponsor of the bill, told the Huffington Post, "It's simply unfair that we've singled out the women who are putting their lives on the line in the military. We have young women who are starting out making $18,000 a year, and they just are not able to deal with this situation on the private side when it happens to them." She hopes to convince House Republicans that the provision isn't about abortion, but fair treatment of servicewomen.
In addition, the version passed in the Senate did not include a discriminatory provision that would have allowed discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, and race if the medical provider had a moral or religious justification. This provision, added by Representative Todd Akin (known for his infamous "legitimate rape" comments), was part of the version of the bill approved by the House in May.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 12/5/12; Queerty 12/5/12; U.S. Senate 12/4/12; Feminist Newswire 8/20/12
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .