Senate leadership indicated yesterday that they will not permit a vote on an amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act introduced by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), which would remove the military’s ban on health coverage for abortions in instances of rape or incest.

Senator Shaheen stated, “This policy is fundamentally unfair to the more than 200,000 women serving in our military. They are fighting to protect our rights, and they should have the same rights to reproductive health care as our civilian employees.”

Currently, Department of Defense policy does not permit military health insurance to cover abortions, even in cases of rape. It also prohibits military women from using their private money to obtain abortion services in US military facilities. According to a 2003 study by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, at least one-third of all women veterans have experienced rape or sexual assault during their service, primarily from US service personnel, and thirty percent of military women experience domestic violence. Moreover, rape occurs in the military nearly twice as often as in the civilian world.

National Partnership for Women and Families 12/1/11; Huffington Post 11/30/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/8/11