January 9, 2013 — Abortion-rights supporters so far are not pushing back against President Obama's nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to be secretary of defense, despite his past hostility to abortion rights and opposition to abortion access for women in the military, the Huffington Post reports.
In 1995, Hagel stated that he had "tightened" his position on abortion to oppose it in cases of rape and incest. Hagel voted four times between 1998 and 2003 to uphold a ban on abortions at military hospitals, according to the Huffington Post.
Lawmakers recently approved an amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that will allow the military's health plan to cover abortions for rape and incest survivors. Obama's nomination of Hagel also comes as the Pentagon is working to reduce sexual assaults in the military.
Shaheen does not seem particularly concerned about Hagel's record, according to the Huffington Post. Shripal Shah, her spokesperson, said the issue of abortion access for servicewomen is "one of many" topics the senator "looks forward to discussing with Senator Hagel during the confirmation process."
Donna Crane, policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said her group also is unconcerned. "Obama's pro-choice views are strong and well-known, and we believe Mr. Hagel would follow them," she said (Huffington Post, 1/7).
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