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Recently Senator Roland Burris (D-Il) introduced an amendment to the Senate Armed Services Committee that was approved to be introduced as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act. This amendment would repeal the current ban that bars women in uniform and dependent women from seeking abortion services in military facilities world wide, except in the case of rape or incest, even if they use their own money.
Currently, if a woman is stationed in a country, or is assigned with a sponsor who is stationed in a country where abortion is not legal, then that woman must obtain leave and funding to find a location where she may obtain such services. This restricts access to women who are living on military budgets, and possibly forces her to divulge private medical information in order to procure that leave. It also means longer absences for women from zones where manning is already low.
Currently, a woman must prove that her pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, stripping the woman of the right to Restricted Reporting options (if she is uniformed) and/or her privacy even if she is civilian. No woman should be forced to report a rape before she is ready to procure a safe, legal procedure. No one should have to trade one privacy for another. Women must pay for these abortions out of pocket on top of this humiliation.
Currently, a doctor or other medical professional must determine if a woman's life is in danger before determining if she may have an abortion, and this is far too subjective to be left to anyone but the woman, especially if current law is going to force the woman to pay for it with her own money. Even if a fetus is determined to be non-viable it will not be induced unless the woman's life is in imminent danger, irrespective of how that might impact her emotional health, because this might be considered an abortive service. This is inhumane and unacceptable treatment.
Opponents of this measure will tell you that it will require additional equipment and staff or force doctors to do procedures they don't want to do. I can tell you that our facilities already have this equipment and staff, and that our medical professionals are already learning how and performing these procedures. Because these are sometimes life-saving procedures they are already prepared to perform these as a part of routine medical care that they have learned.
It is unconscionable to withhold medical procedures that are safe and legal from a woman, especially when she is paying for them with her own money, and I would argue ever, but current regulation allows that to happen to our women in uniform and military dependents. Repealing the ban on abortions in military facilities puts the decision to obtain safe, legal medical procedures back in the hands of the patient, the woman, the ones who are putting on uniforms and defending our country or who are supporting others who do the same.
I implore you to support this repeal when it comes to the Senate for full vote. Do the right thing and give these rights back to the women who fight for them.