The Pentagon pledged in a statement Friday to protect “seamless access” to abortion, citing the potential impact of a landmark Supreme Court ruling on troop preparedness.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed concern about military “preparedness and resilience” following the Supreme Court decision of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which gave states control over regulating abortion in a statement. Currently, the Department of Defense (DOD) has no procedures to allow female military personnel to have abortions if they are stationed in one of the states that ban or strictly restrict the practice, Politico reported.
“Nothing is more important to me or this ministry than the health and well-being of our service members, civilian personnel, and DOD families,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who raised concerns about abortion access in a statement on Friday. P”I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our Force.” put in order.
“The Department is closely examining this decision and is reviewing our policies to ensure we continue to provide seamless access to reproductive health care as permitted by federal law,” he continued.
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Austin has taken the initiative to develop a new abortion policy for the military; defense officials told Politico. However, it is not clear whether there will be a new policy in the short term.
Although military bases across the country provide independent medical services to troops, federal law only allows women to request abortions in military facilities in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening pregnancies, according to a fact sheet released by the Navy. According to the fact sheet, the military health plan can only cover abortions requested in private abortion centers for the same reasons, forcing women to pay for elective abortions.
Abortion advocates with previous military service rejected the decision because it negatively impacted their ability to perform their duties after a draft advisory was leaked in May, DefenseOne reported.
The proposed House Defense Act for 2023 restricts DOD from denying leave requests to women seeking abortions but does not include funding for travel to states with looser abortion policies. Markups to the Senate version have not been made public.
House Democrats introduced a bill in May that would mandate the military to fund abortions for military personnel.
The Department of Defense did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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