Republican Senators John McCain, Scott Brown, and Susan Collins all support an effort by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, to expand abortion access for military women who are raped. But despite bipartisan support in the Senate, Shaheen's proposal may not make it into the final version of the 2013 defense authorization bill—because House Republicans oppose it.
If Shaheen's measure passes, military families will finally have the same access to abortion that other federal employees already receive. Unlike the rest of the federal government, the Department of Defense currently only provides abortion coverage if the life of the mother is at stake. Under current law, if a State Department employee is raped, her government health insurance plan will pay for an abortion if she wants one. But if an Army medic serving in Afghanistan is raped and becomes pregnant, she can't use her military health plan to pay for an abortion. If she does decide to get an abortion, she will have to pay for it with her own money. And if she can't prove she was raped—which is difficult before an investigation is completed—she may have to look for services off base, which can be dangerous or impossible in many parts of the world.
"We have more than 200,000 women serving on active duty in our military," Shaheen tells Mother Jones. "They should have the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as all of the civilians who they protect."
In late May, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Shaheen's amendment, attaching it to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. McCain, the committee's top Republican, voted in favor, as did Brown and Collins. Shaheen is "hopeful" her proposal has enough support to be included in the final bill. The NDAA still needs a vote on the Senate floor. But for Shaheen's amendment, there's a bigger problem: the Republican-controlled House.
This is unconscionable! These women are members of OUR military, that WE failed to protect while they were serving our country, and now WE violate their bodies again by forcing them to carry their rapists child to full term?
What the hell is wrong with these people?
Isn't it bad enough that in the military there were 3,191 reported sexual assaults in 2011, with an unreported estimate of around 19,000? These are our sisters, daughter,s and mothers, where is their justice?
What kind of pro-life statement is it to force these soldiers to live the rest of their lives caring for the constant reminder of their shame and humiliation?
For those who may not be aware, there is an important documentary about this very thing called "The Invisible War."
Here is the preview.