Results tagged “Sexual assault” from Blog for Choice
In one week, three military officers in charge of preventing and addressing sexual assault were arrested on various sexual assault charges, including sexual harassment, stalking, and forced prostitution.
This highlights a startling trend: a recent Pentagon report estimates that 26,000 cases of sexual assault occurred in the military in 2012. These revelations have finally brought national attention to the widespread problem of sexual assault in the military.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for an immediate re-evaluation of all sexual assault prevention officers and recruits. And President Obama has publicly condemned the epidemic levels of military sexual assault cases:
"Not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make and has made the military less effective than it can be. And as such, it is dangerous to our national security."
The national outrage is loud and clear. This story has the attention of our nation's leaders. So we have to ask: What do some of the most outspoken anti-choice politicians have to say?
Top anti-choice politicians Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have yet to come out and denounce the horrible acts happening to women in the military. Their official government websites and social media pages don't have as much as a statement about how these assaults cripple our country and endanger Americans both in and outside the military.
The silence really says it all. Anti-choice politicians who refuse to take a stand for survivors of sexual assault contribute to the same victim-blaming and shameful silence that keeps women from reporting their sexual assaults in the first place.
This is not a problem to be buried and forgotten. No matter how much anti-choice politicians would prefer to look the other way.
Days 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.
On November 6, voters went to the polls and decidedly shut down some of the most extreme and anti-choice candidates who were outspoken in their opposition to abortion care for survivors of rape or incest.
From Rep. Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin to Richard Mourdock to John Koster, candidate after candidate who showed zero compassion for rape survivors was shown the door. Clearly, these extreme anti-choice positions are completely out of touch with American values.
While we won these important victories at the polls, we're working to achieve one more win to show that Americans don't dismiss sexual-assault survivors - we stand up for them.
Current law denies women in the military who become pregnant as a result of rape from using their military health-insurance plan to cover abortion care.
The U.S. Senate is pressing to right this wrong and is poised to adopt the Shaheen amendment that would reverse the ban. However, Speaker John Boehner and other anti-choice leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have blocked efforts to allow military women who are survivors of rape or incest to use their health-insurance plans to cover abortion services.
It's up to Boehner and the anti-choice majority in the House to stop putting politics before the health needs of servicewomen.
Stand with us and protect the rights and needs of our military women. Tell your lawmakers to support the Shaheen amendment and make sure that our servicewomen have access to the health services they need.
Did you know that servicewomen who are survivors of rape or incest cannot get coverage for abortion care under their military health-insurance plans?
As awful as this sounds, it's true.
But in hopeful news, last week the Senate took a big step toward changing this unconscionable policy. The Senate Armed Services Committee adopted an amendment authored by pro-choice Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that would provide abortion coverage for military women who are pregnant as a result of sexual assault.
Retired military officials have joined a group called Stand Up for Servicewomen to fight this discriminatory policy. One retired army captain who belongs to this group called the Shaheen amendment an important step forward for women serving their country.
"Servicewomen promise to support and defend the Constitution and our country," said Cindy McNally, Chief Master Sergeant, US Air Force (Ret.). "It's unconscionable to turn our backs on them in their time of need. We owe it to them--and to ourselves--to get this one right."
A huge shout-out goes to Sen. Shaheen and our other consistent champions of choice on the committee:
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)
Thanks to these senators for fighting for the women who fight for us.
I cannot recall a time in my two decades on this Committee - and I have checked with a few others that served this Committee before me -- that we have devoted a full hearing and markup to [abortion]. I regret that it takes away our attention from our shared goals of job-creation and tax reform. And I regret that this bill is overall just a tax increase on women.
This hearing reinforces just how out of touch John Boehner and other anti-choice politicians are with our country's values and priorities. This hearing will also bring more attention to Boehner's refusal to answer questions about how this mean-spirited bill creates even more obstacles to medical care for rape and incest survivors.
If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion.