Peace Corps Volunteers: On Their Own?
These volunteers represent our country by doing important work around the world, risking their health and safety to provide essential aid abroad. Sadly, these heroic volunteers don't even have the same health-care coverage as government employees have here at home. Right now, if a woman serving in the Peace Corps is raped and needs abortion care, she's on her own.
While women in the military have access to this essential service, abortion coverage is completely banned for women volunteers serving in the Peace Corps who become pregnant from rape or if they face life-threatening complications during pregnancy.
One Peace Corps volunteer, Mary Kate Shannon, had to confront this injustice after surviving her second sexual assault while serving abroad. The Peace Corps couldn't provide funding for abortion care, but they did offer to provide federally-funded parenting classes:
"I felt betrayed...I felt like it was a decision that was going to be made for me. I wasn't in a place financially where I felt like I could pay for it."
Nobody should be forced to go through what Mary Kate experienced. So we're getting the word out and working to secure essential reproductive freedoms for these women. Peace Corps volunteers deserve the same respect, support, and health coverage as other citizens serving our nation abroad.
The Peace Corps Equity Act would ensure that Peace Corps volunteers have the unconditional abortion coverage and support they deserve in the most difficult of circumstances.
Winning insurance coverage for abortion in these tragic circumstances is just the first step. We won't stop fighting until insurance plans cover abortion just like any other medical services - for all women.