Senators want abortion protections for military

A group of eight Senators is urging Pentagon officials to ensure that service members can get access to an abortion even if the medical procedure becomes illegal in states where they are based.


The lawmakers, led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), are pressing the Department of Defense (DOD) to act quickly on the matter following the leaked draft ruling from the Supreme Court made public last week. The draft document indicates the court is set to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States.


“If the opinion goes into effect, hundreds of thousands of troops, dependents, and DOD civilians will lose access to safe abortions and potentially face criminal prosecution for exercising a fundamental human right — creating a scenario where servicemembers’ reproductive and healthcare rights would become dependent on their duty station,” read a letter the senators sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday.


The lawmakers, which consist of seven Democrats and Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine), implore Austin to implement protective policies in the military before any ruling goes into effect.


“At a minimum, you and your staff should consider implementing policy changes to allow servicemembers to obtain [special permission] in order to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these rights,” they write.