FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2010
Senate Committee Votes to Repeal Discriminatory Abortion Ban Targeting Military Women
Washington, DC - Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called a Senate committee's vote to lift a ban on abortion services for military women an important step forward for women's freedom and privacy.
Late Thursday members of the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment offered by Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) to repeal a law that forbids servicewomen and female military dependents from using their own money for abortion services at overseas military hospitals.
This repeal does not mean the Department of Defense would have to pay for abortion services. It would simply lift the current ban on privately funded abortion care at U.S. military facilities overseas.
"We commend the committee for moving forward to end a policy that denies health-care options to women serving in the military, even when they use their own money," Keenan said. "Women in the military should have access to the same quality care available to women in our country. Signing up to serve in the armed forces shouldn't cause women to lose health-care options if they're stationed overseas. We look forward to working with our allies in the Senate to protect this progress when the bill goes to the full Senate."
Keenan also said that, according to the Pentagon, the number of reported sexual assaults in the military increased significantly over the past few years. The most recent data indicate that the trend may be leveling off. However, sexual assaults in the military remain a major cause for concern, thus underscoring the need for women in the military to have access to a full range of reproductive-health services.
For more information on this topic, please read our fact sheet (pdf).