This week, Congress is expected to vote on an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization act (HR 1588 and S 1050) that would lift a seven-year-old ban on women in the military obtaining abortions at military facilities abroad. This ban prevents American military women, as well as the dependant wives and daughters of male soldiers, from using their own funds to pay for an abortion at U.S. military hospitals. The ban compromises the health and safety of American servicewomen, and is particularly devastating for those stationed overseas, where safe, legal abortion services may be unavailable. When facing an unwanted pregnancy, these women are forced either to attempt to obtain an abortion in a local medical facility in the country in which they are stationed, or to obtain permission to travel to the United States or another country.
As our nation's men and women continue to serve with courage overseas, we are reminded of the fundamental rights and freedoms for which our nation stands, the freedoms our military is currently working so hard to defend. We cannot continue to violate the rights of the very servicewomen who are sacrificing themselves to secure these kinds of freedoms for others. This ban should be repealed immediately.
We urge Congress to support our troops by voting to overturn this ban. American women must not be punished for choosing to serve our country.