January 7, 2013 — A provision included in a recently approved Department of Defense authorization bill "lifts a statutory ban on giving female service members insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape and incest" and "ends a longstanding act of discrimination against women who serve in America's military," a New York Times editorial states.
However, "the new provision does not end the difficultly that military women have in accessing safe abortion care," the editorial adds. Congress' next step should be to end a policy that "prevents servicewomen from obtaining abortions at military hospitals and clinics, even if the women pay the bill," the editorial argues, noting that the policy creates a "special hardship for servicewomen stationed in foreign countries, particularly in a war zone like Afghanistan."
The editorial continues, "Women serving overseas should have the same basic health care that other American women enjoy and should not have to risk their health, privacy or future career advancement in order to exercise a constitutionally protected right."
The editorial notes that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) soon will reintroduce legislation that would "allow women to obtain abortions on military bases with private funds," adding that the bill "asks members of Congress to stop burdening soldiers with ideological restrictions on their health care" (New York Times, 1/4).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership