Thursday, June 14, 2012

House GOP blocks military victims of rape from accessing abortions.

Courtesy of Mother Jones:

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.


  1. Everyone of us needs to send this blog to our representatives and let them know what we expect them to do for these women. We must demand that they provide this necessary medical service immediately. Ask them if they would want their daughters to have this needed care? I am so fortunate (NOT) to have Boehner as one of my reps here in Ohio. I will be emailing, tweeting, faxing and calling to him today with my expectation and reminding him that HE works for ME!

    1. Anonymous8:35 PM

      I've tried to email boner, butr since I am not in his district, I can't get through. I guess snail mail, but he wouldn't read, much less see what I had to say. Heck, even McCain and Kyl, my senators, don't answer me. Democracy? Think again.

  2. Anonymous5:03 AM

    Thanks for posting this. When I saw it yesterday, I was sick to my stomach.

  3. Anonymous5:29 AM

    America truly has its own Taliban. Pathetic.

    Obama/Biden 2012
    Clinton 2016

    1. Paul - Minnesota8:10 AM


      America does have our own tea Taliban.

      The very dangerous Taliban people out to destroy the USA aren't just overseas nor are they just Muslim.

  4. Anonymous5:50 AM

    I think all the pro-lifers should be forced to adopt these babies of rape victims.

  5. Anonymous5:52 AM

    Republicans hate women. They would all gladly return to the day when women could not own property and when they could not vote. They consider women to be chattel. Any woman who votes for a Republican candidate in November 2012 is insane.

    1. Anonymous8:37 PM

      Agree. The ultra social conservatives seem to fear women - the power of women who provide sex and produce babies, nurture and teach the children. Own the women and you own society.

    2. Anonymous9:25 PM

      I've worked in three different military installations. There is definitely a sexist mentality in the DOD. Women in the military have to be tough.

  6. Leland6:16 AM

    Not really a big surprise! just another attack from the Republicans in the "non-existent" (so-called by them) war on women. Of course, their argument will be: "Well, they shouldn't be in the military anyway!" Any takers on that bet?

    1. hedgewytch8:43 AM

      That's exactly the mind set. Woman don't belong in the military (except as nurses and secretaries and such) so if they get raped its "their own fault" as men can't be expected to control themselves especially when they are under the stress of the war zone. The thought process makes me physically ill.

    2. Anonymous9:23 AM

      Seriously - why DO women enter the military? IMO, it's because feminism went about things ass-backwards. It taught women that they needed to be like men. What they should have taught was that men needed to be like women.

      Militarianism is a male product. Men wage war, not women. Why women want to be part of this sick, destructive, violent, testosterone-poisoned system is beyond me.

      If they WANT to, that's up to them, but what do they THINK is going to happen? That their fellow male soldiers AREN'T going to see them as rape fodder? It's not like the military has high standards! Soldiers are like cops - it's a certain male mindset and it is an ugly one.

    3. Anonymous9:53 AM

      @9:23 I knew several young women in my daughter's graduating class (late 1990s) who couldn't afford a college education and thought the military would be a good place to earn useful skills (just like their male counterparts at the time). Or do women not need useful job skills because some prince will take care of them?

    4. Anonymous11:51 AM

      I went into the military right after college because I am the third generation of my family to serve our country. 9:23, you sicken me. It's obvious you disdain both men and women. Men are capable of controlling themselves, and for you to think otherwise is atrocious. Why do you fear feminism? Are you terrified at the notion that women are just as capable and smart as men and deserve the same rights and responsibilities as men? Must suck to be you.

    5. Anita Winecooler6:51 PM


      Feminism went about it the right way. They fought for the rights of all women to do whatever they decide they want to. Female service members don't deserve to be brutally attacked, then expected to raise a child they were forced to conceive, while the attacker gets a pat on the back and "attaboy".

      Your comment is patently offensive to both sexes and all military who put their lives on the line to keep idiots like you safe and free.

    6. Anonymous8:42 PM

      Young women join the military for the same reason young men do: for the training. for the VA benefits. for the inside introduction into the MIC for future jobs. for a future education. for a down payment on a home. for a stable after high school transition into the work force. for discipline. To support their children.

      It's THE BEST employer in town. That's why women want an equal opportunity.

  7. Anonymous6:51 AM

    please see the doco when it hits screens
    you have NO idea how bad these SA situations become.
    Rape victims say military labels them 'crazy'
    CNN Sat April 14, 2012

  8. Anonymous7:20 AM

    Federal employee health insurance plans do NOT routinely provide abortion coverage. I believe Hillary Clinton saw to it that State Dep employees serving in hardship spots overseas who are raped can have access to military hospitals for abortions but that is not the same as abortion coverage.

    I am shocked John Mccain is on the correct side of this issue.

  9. Anonymous7:42 AM

    Pro-lifer's (social conservatives) can't stand victims, unless they themselves are looking for sympathy when they are unpopular.

    Sarah Palin, as Mayor of Wasilla, is a perfect representation of how they despise Rape Victims. She made her constituency pay for their own efforts to seek justice. She was more concerned that people be able to drink until four a.m. She bandies about anonymous threats of her daughters chastity whenever she's defending herself. She says she'd counsel all women to chose life if pregnant no matter the causation. Yet she admits to pro-life crowds that she thought about abortion herself when she was "pregnant" with Trig.

    No, as long as rape is someone else's problem and Sarah Palin and religious politicians will work to make you a dirty whore for being raped and a dirty human being if you don't bring it to fruition. Stocking the local hospital board with pro-life church folk was also another measure she undertook to usurp a legally protected right for her constituents.

    Sarah's and these guys' bottom line is serving themselves. There is no servant's heart.

    1. Anonymous8:45 PM

      She also cut funding for assistance for pregnant teens in Alaska. Except for Bristol of course, for which she faked a birth....

  10. I posted the entire Mother Jones article on Lisa Murkowski's Facebook page. Wonder if it will stay there. She's been very disappointing on women's issues but likes to push her support of the military.

  11. Also sent it to Don Young's e-mail address as apparently Facebook is too complicated for him.

  12. Sharon11:06 AM

    The way we brag about this country esp with the military and our democracy. Here we are for the world to see.....the rich own everything and control our government, the growing level of poverty, low education, lousy healthcare..and this profound volume of rape in the military. I wonder how other countries handle this? These women deserve our full attention now. This is barbaric....shameful, and a serious indictment of our leaders.

  13. physicsmom11:38 AM

    I saw the trailer and the producer, I think, on a TV show last week. The whole thing made me cry. It is a national disgrace that the military allows this to happen and makes prosecution so difficult for the injured military women. If a male soldier attacked another male soldier, I imagine that there would be consequences enforced by the brass and quickly. This situation infuriates me, and the fact that there is hardly any coverage of this problem in the MSM is almost worse.

  14. Anonymous12:35 PM

    The GOP has made it their mission to deny abortion to anyone for any reason, deciding that only THEY are the moral authority of the US. Here in MI, they are frantically defunding any public health clinic that even talks about abortion as an option. it is the most disgusting attack on women I have ever seen. And to force a victim of rape to carry a child is horrendous. In case the GOP hasn't noticed, woeld overpopulation is a huge problem. In case they were too busy calling their lobbyists back, the US does NOT take care of its children once they are fact, the GOP is doing is best to deny kidsw basic food, education, and health care. So why are they do damn determined to outlaw birth control and abortion? It is not because they are religious.

  15. The GOP position on women's rights and their strict fundamentalist attitude on religion is downright scary - and really reminds me of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale". If you haven't read this book yet, you should. It feels like it is taken from today as a projection of what will happen if we do not take steps to stop these fundamentalist xtians!

  16. The GOP fundamentalist xtians remind me of the leaders in "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. If you have not yet read this, you should. It reminds me of the lack of respect for women's contribution to this world, that we are second-class citizens with few rights, and useful only as men see fit.

  17. The GOP position on women's rights and their strict fundamentalist attitude on religion is downright scary - and really reminds me of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale". If you haven't read this book yet, you should. It feels like it is taken from today as a projection of what will happen if we do not take steps to stop these fundamentalist xtians!

  18. This has nothing to do with the politics of abortion.

    It has everything to do with the politics of rape.

    The military refuses to acknowledge that there is a culture of rape in every branch of their services and they regularly prey on their own soldiers; their FEMALE soldiers.

    So this is really a way to say, hey, they don't need this because there is no rape in the military.

    Yeah, like anyone (except right wing rich white Xian men) believes that.

  19. Anita Winecooler7:02 PM

    Amazing how these people can block the sun with one finger, and believe the sun doesn't exist.

    The American Terrorists should be forced to watch the documentary (with their eyes open) and realize these women are being brutally attacked, left carrying a fetus they never consented to, and if this law passes, they'd have to raise this child?

    It's not a woman's right decision alone, it's a human right decision. Military Women are fighting for all of our rights and freedoms, while being denied their own. In what way does this make sense?

  20. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Thanks for posting this Jesse. I had no idea it was this bad. This is an important film and needs to be seen. Patty Murray has been increasing the pressure on the military to address the caused of increased suicide rates. I wonder if she will address this as well. I'll post the link on her site. Infuriating and devastating. While I totally disagree with 9:23 blaming the victim, I wonder about the description of the military mentality. How do you identify and avoid promoting individuals who are likely very competent soldiers, but cannot tolerate the thought that a woman can be one of them?

  21. Anonymous8:32 PM

    The military owns the bodies of these women? These women who are courageous warriors laying their lives on the line? This is how they are treated?

    I hope this wakes up those now in service to see how their rights are being eroded as they also put their lives on the line.


  22. Anonymous8:50 PM

    What could possibly justify this? Is the military willing to take on the expense of the pre-natal care, birth, post natal care, neo natal care if needed, pediatric care, adoption fees and foster care services, or therapeutic or physical care of the mother....?????????

    Seriously, who bears the costs associated? Society? Charity? The mother? the Raper? The military?


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