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Action Alert: Support Repeal of Military Women's Abortion Ban and DADT


Support Repeal of Military Women's Abortion Ban and DADT

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Urge your senators today to vote for the FY 2011 Department of Defense Authorization (DOD) Bill, which contains a repeal of the dangerous ban on abortion services at military hospitals overseas for service women and their dependents.

In addition to abolishing the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, the DOD bill would end this outrageous ban. The women serving this country must have access to full reproductive health care, which includes safe abortion care. The ban on military abortions must be lifted. Use our message or write one of your own.

Take action NOW!

Now that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is bringing the DOD authorization bill to a cloture vote in the Senate, there will be an opportunity for senators to repeal the very harmful military abortion ban. An amendment that would allow military women and their dependants to utilize military hospitals overseas to obtain abortion services, paid for with their own funds, was approved in late May by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The ban was first implemented through a DOD administrative order in 1988 in the George H. W. Bush administration, but President Bill Clinton lifted the ban by executive order in 1993. A Republican-led Congress in 1995 reversed the Clinton order and later wrote the ban into permanent law.

The ban on military abortions puts a heavy burden on the women serving this country, and it also applies to their dependents. For service women stationed overseas, this means that they must rely on local hospitals, which may have questionable medical practices, or the women must wait to return to the U.S., resulting in a delay that could be a risk to their health.

The high instances of rape and sexual assault in the military make this policy even more egregious. A 2003 study found that 30 percent of female military veterans reported having been raped or suffered a rape attempt during their military service. A 2005 study by the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that 60 percent of women in the military reserves and National Guard suffered sexual assault or harassment during their service. The Pentagon disclosed that nearly 3,000 sexual assaults were reported in 2006. Although the current law allows women access to abortion in cases of rape and incest, it requires them to pay out of pocket for the procedure.

Unfortunately, removal of the requirement that women pay for these services out of their own funds is not included in the DOD bill's provision -- as that was deemed not politically feasible.

What should not only be feasible but obligatory is providing U.S. service women with access to comprehensive reproductive health care at military hospitals. Take action NOW to right this wrong.

This bill also includes a repeal of the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, so it is doubly important that we secure its passage. Take action NOW!

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