Last week, the Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel amended the Defense Department Reauthorization Act to improve the reproductive health services available to military personnel and spouses stationed overseas by granting federally-funded abortions to women whose pregnancies are the result or incest or rape, or are life-threatening.
Yesterday, the full Armed Services Committee rejected the Subcommittee’s amendments and voted to prohibit publicly-funded abortions for rape who have been raped unless their rape was “forcible” (excluding statutory rape) and had been reported to law enforcement officials. The Committee also reinstated the ban on privately-funded abortions for military service members and their dependents.
Current law prohibits abortions at military hospitals except in cases of rape or incest, or when an abortion is needed save a pregnant woman’s life. Federal funds pay only for life-saving abortions only when the procedure is needed to save the woman’s life.
The Defense Department Reauthorization Act will next go to the full House. A Senate version of the same legislation does not include the new abortion restrictions passed by the Armed Service Committee.