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Results tagged “Women in the military” from Blog for Choice

A Special "Thank You" to a Pro-Choice Champion for Servicewomen

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468px-Jeanne_Shaheen,.jpgThis year's elections proved that Americans won't tolerate politicians who turn their back on rape survivors. No matter where you stand on the issue of legal abortion, it's just wrong to deny a woman who endured sexual violence access to reproductive-health care.

Under current law, military women are banned from using their military health-insurance plans to cover abortion care if they become pregnant as a result of sexual assault.

Today, the U.S. Senate took a big step toward finally paying military women the respect they deserve by adopting the language known as the Shaheen amendment in the FY '13 Department of Defense (DoD) authorization bill to lift this discriminatory policy.

Last week, President Obama marked his administration's support for lifting this ban.

Our own Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded the Senate,

"Today, women in the military have come one step closer to winning protections they deserve for reproductive freedom and privacy. Denying our heroes access to complete reproductive-health care coverage not only discriminates against them but also endangers their health. Congress has an opportunity to protect and support those who selflessly serve our country. Now it's up to John Boehner to step up to this task."

But nobody has worked harder for military women than the author and namesake of the language, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.).

Sen. Shaheen has been leading the charge to correct the current policy, which places an undue burden on the servicewomen who dedicate their lives to serving our country.

We thank Sen. Shaheen for her tireless work to end this unjust policy, and we're thrilled that the Senate stood with military women.

Now, the U.S. House of Representatives has the opportunity to end this cruel policy when they work with the Senate to approve the final version of the DoD authorization bill.

We need your help - send a strong message to Speaker John Boehner and anti-choice members of the House: We owe it to our military women to provide them with the health care they need in the tragic circumstance of sexual assault.

President Obama Stands with Servicewomen

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We need your help to end an egregious policy that impacts women in the military who have survived a rape.

We've been working hard to make sure that military women who are survivors of rape or incest can get abortion services covered using their military health insurance. Anti-choice law currently bans them from doing so, and they must pay the cost themselves.

The U.S. Senate is poised to lift this ban.

And today, pro-choice champion President Obama confirmed his administration's support for overturning the ban (see page four of this PDF).

We're so thankful that the person we call Mr. President stands with women, and especially with the women who dedicate their lives to serving our country.

We owe it to our servicewomen to make sure they can get the health services they need in the tragic case of sexual assault.

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Help us end this horrible policy -- send a strong message to lawmakers.

Stand with our servicewomen and tell Congress to put the needs of rape survivors in the military ahead of their extreme anti-choice agenda.

Standing Up for Women in the Military

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Our servicewomen put their lives on the line for our rights, but they don't have same right to choose that we have at home.

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Current law permits the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide abortion care at military facilities only in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

In the tragic cases of rape or incest, the servicewoman must bear the cost of the medical care herself, which means the restrictions on military women go even further than on civilian women.

Fortunately, pro-choice lawmakers are working to change this unfair policy.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced a measure that would repeal the law that blocks women from using their military insurance plan to cover abortion care if they survive a sexual assault.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised Sen. Shaheen and other pro-choice leaders for standing up for our servicewomen:

Women in the military deserve the same reproductive -health care as women here at home. Anti-choice lawmakers are putting politics ahead of servicewomen's health and safety. These women are fighting for our freedom while being denied their own.

It's outrageous for women in the military who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault to be denied the right to the full range of reproductive-health care options.

Thank you, Sen. Shaheen!

Call on your senators to stand with our servicewomen by supporting the Shaheen amendment.

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Anti-Choice Senators Block Repeal of Discriminatory Abortion Ban

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On Friday night, we reported some bad news from the Senate: anti-choice senators, including John McCain, blocked the repeal of a discriminatory abortion ban on women serving in the military overseas.

Current law bans women in the military from accessing abortion care at the base hospital--even with their own money. An amendment to the 2010 Defense bill would have ended this unfair policy, and allowed military women serving overseas to pay for abortion services with their own money at a military hospital where they can obtain the care they need in a safe place. 

Unfortunately, anti-choice senators forced the amendment to be removed. Here's what Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, had to say about their behavior

Sen. John McCain and others in the Senate who held the whole bill hostage over this improvement for women's health should be ashamed. This kind of anti-choice obstruction is unacceptable - and it won't end anytime soon. Americans now have an example of what it looks like when political ideology trumps women's health. Unfortunately, when the new Senate convenes in January, there will be more senators who are willing to play politics with women's reproductive rights, even women who are bravely serving their country overseas.
 

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Thanks for Tweeting @SenJohnMcCain

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Thanks to all the people who flooded Sen. John McCain's Twitter feed with calls to end the abortion ban for military women. We've never seen the senator's Twitter page look so good!

And there's still time to take action. Call on your senator to end this outrageous ban!
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Tweet @SenJohnMcCain for Women in the Military

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Do you use Twitter? Help us flood Sen. John McCain's Twitter feed with messages from pro-choice Americans, telling him to end the abortion ban for military women. Here's a sample tweet you can use: 

Hey @SenJohnMcCain, I support the defense bill that lifts the abortion ban on women in the military. Stop blocking it. #p2 #fem2 #prochoice


Not a tweeter? Not a problem. You can still take action by calling on your senators to repeal this outrageous ban. 30,662 people have taken action in the past two weeks! Help us reach 35,000 messages by the end of this week. 

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Time to End the Ban on Military Women's Access to Abortion

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Did you know that women serving our country overseas have fewer health-care choices than women here at home? Anti-choice politicians ban women in the military from accessing abortion care - even with their own money. Yes, you read that right.

More and more women are serving in the military every year. And they're stationed overseas in places where local abortion facilities are inadequate or unavailable, or where they don't speak the language. 

That means that often servicewomen facing an unintended pregnancy overseas literally have nowhere to turn. The same is true for families serving abroad. Wives and family members who depend on military services for their health care are banned from turning to their regular doctor if they face an unintended pregnancy. They can't even use their own money for abortion care.

This ban is unconscionable. That's why Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, recently went on Fox News to speak out against it

Fortunately, the Senate is close to lifting this dangerous abortion ban. Ending the ban would mean that servicewomen could receive abortion services at a military hospital where it's safe. 

But anti-choice senators aren't giving up. They've already threatened to change the bill when the full Senate votes, and keep the abortion ban in place. They've already rallied their anti-choice activists.

The Senate is back in session this week, and a vote to repeal the abortion ban could come by the end of the month. Contact your senators, and tell them to repeal the ban on military women's access to abortion care.

If you're a woman serving in the military, or the wife of a servicemember, have you ever been affected by this ban? We want to hear your stories


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In late May, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) to repeal the ban on servicewomen and female military dependents using their own money for abortion services at overseas military hospitals.

This is a huge - and important - step forward for women's freedom and privacy. Nancy Keenan commented on this committee vote, saying:

Women in the military should have access to the same quality care available to women in our country. Signing up to serve in the armed forces shouldn't cause women to lose health-care options if they're stationed overseas. We look forward to working with our allies in the Senate to protect this progress when the bill goes to the full Senate.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has long been a leader of this fight for equality on military bases. That's because, according to the Pentagon, the number of reported sexual assaults in the military increased significantly over the past few years. The most recent data indicate that the trend may be leveling off. However, sexual assaults in the military remain a major cause for concern, thus underscoring the need for women in the military to have access to a full range of reproductive-health services.

This part is super important: This repeal does not mean the Department of Defense (DoD) would have to pay for abortion services. It would simply lift the current ban on women using their own money to pay for abortion care at U.S. military facilities overseas.

This is a critical point to make, as it already has been reported incorrectly in the Washington Times. Nancy Keenan was quick to write a letter-to-the-editor in response:

When I read the story "Military abortion issue returns" (Page 1, Tuesday), I was reminded of the adage that everyone is entitled to her opinion but not her own set of facts.

The article refers to our efforts to lift the ban on military women using private funds to pay for abortion care at overseas bases. Lifting this particular ban would not require taxpayers to fund abortion services. Women would pay directly for their care, as well as any additional hospital overhead costs.

Women defending our country should be able to access a legal medical service and pay for it themselves.

There may be an abundance of opinions in this article, but at the end of the day, I can think of another quip that rings most true: The facts speak for themselves.

And local news editorial boards agree. This snippet came from The Roanoke Times:

Things are even worse for women stationed in combat zones or in nations where abortion is legal but off-base hospitals are primitive. They are denied access to a constitutionally protected medical procedure by accident of their assignment...Abortion remains a difficult, deeply personal decision. America trusts women to fight for their nation. It also should trust those who enlist and their families to make the right decision for their circumstances.

What are the next steps? Well, we're just a few steps shy of ending the ban, but anti-choice politicians are digging in to keep it in place. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) even called on his anti-choice colleagues to prepare for a big fight.

We need to get emails to the Senate right away before our opponents can launch their attack on military women.

So, what can you do? Click on our easy action to urge your senators to support the DoD bill's repeal of a provision that bans military women from paying for abortion services with their own money, as adopted by the Armed Services Committee.

Learn more from our fact sheet (it's a PDF).

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A Mid-February Update

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I know, I know, it's been a while since our last update. It's not a good excuse, but remember that whole DC "Snowpocalypse" thing? Yeah. It was that bad, and it set me back a bit, so apologies for the lack of blog posts. Before we get back to the regularly scheduled blogging, I wanted to give you an update of what's been going on in the world of choice-related news. I hope this is helpful.

So-Called "Personhood" Measures are the New Abortion Ban: Mississippi and Colorado - get ready to fight because anti-choice opponents set their sights on outlawing abortion in your states. Late last week and early this week, anti-choicers put the wheels in motion to get anti-choice "personhood" measures on the ballot. In Mississippi, the Associated Press reported:

Personhood Mississippi, led by Les Riely of Pontotoc, delivered petitions with signatures of 105,167 people on Tuesday. The group's goal is to extend rights to fetuses and stop abortion in Mississippi. Similar efforts have been under way in several other states, including Colorado, Florida, Montana and Nevada.

In Colorado, the Denver Post noted:

So-called "Christian soldiers" announced Friday that they have handed in the thousands of signatures needed to place the Personhood Colorado amendment on the 2010 ballot. But proponents of the anti-abortion measure fell well short of the 131,000 signatures submitted for a similar amendment in 2008. This year they will be handing in only 79,817 signatures, just 3,770 more than then 76,047 valid signatures needed for the Secretary of State's office to certify the initiative for the ballot.

Thankfully, our colleagues at NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado are working hard to defeat this extreme measure in their state, just as they did in 2008.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T: An independent Pentagon panel's decision to ensure military women have access to EC at military health facilities received excellent coverage in The New York Times this weekend. The "Gray Lady" even called for an end to the anti-choice policy that prohibits servicewomen's access to abortion, even when they use their own money:

Next, Pentagon officials and members of Congress need to address the callous treatment of servicewomen with regard to abortion. Under current rules, military doctors may perform abortions only in cases of rape, incest or when the women's lives are endangered. And even in cases of rape and incest, the women must pay. It is outrageous that politics is allowed to interfere with the health care decisions of women who wear the nation's uniform.

It's a must read, and a must share.

Things May Go South for Some Women in North Carolina: This week, we learned that county employees of Wake County, North Carolina, might lose abortion care from their insurance policy. NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina calls this move "a slap in the face to every female employee" and is standing up to this attack on choice at the local level.

Because Crazy Talk Never Goes Out of Style: All this unexpected snow in Washington, D.C. must have sent crazy dust across the country. This week, we had not one, not two, but three extreme examples of crazy-talk from anti-choicers. Let's file these under ARE YOU KIDDING US WITH THIS?

Via Hotline's Wake-Up Call, courtesy of the Associated Press:

A Tea Party organizer in eastern WA who told a crowd that she'd like to "hang" Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) says her remark "was taken out of context," and that she meant she'd like to "hang Patty Murray, by vote."

Uhhh, WHAT? Statements like that have no place in the political dialog and, in fact, are downright scary.

The New York Times' Caucus Blog reported on a speaker, Jason Mattera, who bashed President Obama at the infamous Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). That alone doesn't surprise anyone, but highly-insensitive remarks like the one below gave cause for a double take (or read, rather):

He then mocked what he described, with a Chris Rock voice, as "diversity," including, he said, college classes on "cyber feminism" and "what it means to be a feminist new black man." Describing the latter, he said: "Think of a crossover between RuPaul and Barney Frank."

REALLY, Mr. Mattera? Really?

Finally, Ken Blackwell - senior fellow at the Family Research Council, visiting professor at Liberty University School of Law, and chairman of Ohio Faith and Freedom Coalition - was at it again this week, this time attacking Dawn Johnsen, President Obama's nominee for a top job at the Justice Department:

If Mr. Obama is serious about civility he needs to withdraw Dawn Johnsen's nomination. If she is confirmed, we will see a radical anti-Catholic, pro-abortion zealot influencing policy th[r]oughout the Justice Department--but also policy throughout the entire federal government.

Riiiiiiiiiight. Ironic that Ken Blackwell is calling someone other than himself a radical and a zealot.

The Problem with Pro-Choice Men?: Nope, that isn't a set-up to a lame joke, but rather the subject and headline of an article that ran in the Daily Beast.

Pro-choice activists argue that there's more to the issue than one poll, however. Ted Miller, Communications Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America, points to South Dakota. When a legislative ban on abortions was defeated in 2006, anti-abortion activists claimed that a similar bill, with exceptions for rape and incest, would pass in the next legislative cycle. In 2008, the bill, now with exceptions, was handily defeated again, and both pre- and post-polling showed men and women equally against it.

... Miller says that NARAL's ongoing research project among young voters has found that of those who "were supportive of a woman's right to choose... almost all the young men talked about women in their lives who had gone through the experience of choosing abortion."

We thought it was an interesting piece, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Finally, we'd like to offer pro-choice Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) our best wishes for a speedy recovery following his diagnosis of stomach lymphoma. The entire staff of NARAL Pro-Choice America will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

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