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Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Military

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Servicewoman_small.jpgDays after news broke that the Air Force officer overseeing the service's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program was arrested on charges of sexual assault, a Pentagon report was released showing that there were an estimated 26,000 cases of sexual assault in the military in fiscal year 2012 - a six percent increase over 2011.

It's reprehensible that this officer could have perpetuated the very same act that he's supposed to be working to end.

How we treat our service members reflects on us as a society. That's why we're working hard to make sure that our service members have the same rights as citizens here at home.

We celebrated a victory last year when Congress enacted the Shaheen amendment, which lifted the ban on sexual-assault survivors using their health insurance to pay for abortion services.

We've also been working with amazing pro-choice champions in Congress like Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who introduced the Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health for Military Women (MARCH) Act which would repeal the ban on women in the military using their own money for abortion care overseas.

It's unacceptable that military women who sacrifice so much for our country are blocked from making the most personal of reproductive-health decisions.

We're optimistic that more political leaders will make ending sexual assault and ensuring service women's reproductive rights a priority. Because even one sexual assault is too many.

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