FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Women's Health Expert Decries Prohibition on Privately-funded Abortion Services for Women in the Military
Policy Discriminates Against U.S. Service Members and Compromises Their Health and Safety
Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, DC — December 22, 2010 — "Today Congress missed a significant opportunity to ensure that military families have the same right to safe health care services as the civilians they protect. The FY 2011 Defense Authorization bill passed without a provision that would have finally repealed the prohibition on abortion services in military hospitals in almost all cases, even when those services are paid for with private funds.
This policy discriminates against U.S. service members and compromises their health and safety. It is particularly devastating to service members and dependents living overseas who depend almost exclusively on their base facilities for medical care because they may have no other access to safe medical services.
It's shameful that the bill, as passed, means that even if a pregnancy threatens a woman’s health, she could not use her own, private funds to access safe abortion services at her base facility. A repeal of this policy, as included in the Senate version of the bill, would not have translated into the use of federal funds for abortion services and it would not have obligated any military medical personnel to perform abortion services.
This is about equal access to health care services — not abortion politics. Women who courageously serve our country should not be denied their constitutional rights and should not have to risk their health or lives to obtain abortion services, which would be available to them if they had not volunteered to serve our country."
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan 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.