Last week, Representative Susan Davis introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have allowed military health care plans to cover abortion services for service women who had been raped. Currently, Department of Defense policy does not permit military health insurance to cover abortions, even in cases of rape. The House Rules Committee, however, did not permit the amendment to be brought to the House floor for debate.
Representative Davis clarified, “While the military has made strides to address sexual assault in the ranks, victims still report a lack of confidentiality, protection, support, and access to legal counsel once an incident is reported. My amendments address many of these shortcomings with current DOD policy and I look forward to the day that they become law.”
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. Members of the US House of Representatives, including Susan Davis (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) have pressed the military to address sexualized violence.