National Partnership for Women & Families

Women's Leader Applauds House and Senate Introduction of Peace Corps Equity Act

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — May 6, 2014 —

“Leaders in the House and Senate took a welcome step today toward fair and equal treatment of women who volunteer to serve their country in the Peace Corps by introducing stand-alone legislation to give women volunteers the same abortion coverage as other women who get their health insurance from the federal government.

We thank Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) for their steadfast commitment to protecting women’s health and for standing up for female Peace Corps volunteers who, while small in number, have had a tremendous impact around the world.

Peace Corps volunteers are one of the last groups of women without coverage of abortion care in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment, and that is wrong. The inequity is particularly glaring given that more than 60 percent of Peace Corps volunteers are women. There is absolutely no reason Peace Corps volunteers should not receive the same protections as other women who rely on the government for their coverage. While we strongly believe that abortion coverage bans are harmful to women and should be lifted entirely, at the very least Congress should make coverage for women in the Peace Corps equitable. Peace Corps volunteers who give their time and energy to better the lives of others should not be singled out for worse treatment or more limited health coverage.

We urge the House and Senate to pass the Peace Corps Equity Act and end this egregious unfairness.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at

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