Women in the military, or who are otherwise covered by military health insurance, have to pay for an abortion out of pocket even if they are raped or the victims of incest. Nor can they use their own money to pay for an abortion on military bases. Yesterday, a bill was introduced in the Senate to change that.
Sponsored by Democratic senators Kristen Gillibrand, Barbara Boxer, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen and Frank Lautenberg, the MARCH for Military Women Act (Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health), basically would mean that women in the military get the same access and privileges as civilian federal employees, Medicaid recipients, and prisoners.
That's despite the fact that military women face a statistically higher probability of sexual assault. As Vania Leveille of the ACLU posed the question to ABC News, "Why are military women treated as second class citizens? Why are they treated differently than the civilian women?"
It'll be an uphill battle. The anti-choice movement has been focused on eradicating federal funding to any institutions that also provide abortions, and while they failed on a federal level, they're making headway in the states. Unsurprisingly, they're not on board with equal access for servicemembers:
"Medical facilities serving our military are meant to preserve live, not destroy it," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. "Yet this bill would turn military facilities into abortion clinics, using personnel and equipment subsidized by taxpayers. It is time for the abortion industry to stop using the military as a place to advance its agenda."
Last month, an amendment with a similar goal didn't even make it out of a House Committee, which is controlled by Republicans. Rep. Louise Slaughter has introduced the companion bill in the House.