Servicewomen Overseas Denied Access to Abortion

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(WOMENSENEWS)–The House Armed Services Committee rejected an amendment that would have allowed military servicewomen and their dependants to have privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities, even if they pay for the service with their own money.

The health care coverage provided for U.S. military personnel and dependents is funded through the Department of Defense and only provides funding for abortion when the life of the woman is in danger, according to the Associated Press.

Providing women with access to abortions is particularly necessary for women stationed in countries that do no permit abortion or have rudimentary non-military health facilities, said Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., who proposed the bill.

“President Bush and anti-choice lawmakers continue to place the reproductive health of American women in uniform at risk. This ban discriminates against our nation’s servicewomen and their dependents, preventing them from obtaining needed medical services simply because they are stationed overseas,” said Kate Michelman, president of NARAL, an abortion rights organization.

The amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill was defeated 35-23 on Aug. 1. The ban on privately funded abortions was put place in 1995.–Jessica McRorie

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