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Results tagged “military women” from Blog for Choice

Georgia Senator: Military Rape is Just Part of "Nature"


Saxby_Chambliss.jpgIn today's Senate Armed Services committee hearing, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) defended rape and sexual assault that occurs in the military, saying:

"The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee-whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So, we've got to be very careful on our side."

Well, gee-whiz. So Sen. Chambliss is arguing that 26,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2012 is just a case of "boys will be boys."

What could be more offensive, to men and women alike, than claiming that rape and sexual assault are somehow natural?

It's this type of thinking that truly endangers our service members and blocks any semblance of true reform to end sexual assault in the military.

It makes a dismissive generalization about the experiences of survivors of sexual assault in and outside the military.

Reports have shown the reality of sexual assault in the military and the numbers truly speak for themselves.

Sen. Chambliss now joins Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, and Wisconsin state Rep. Roger "some girls just rape easy" Rivard (R), in sharing some of the most egregious and dangerous positions about rape and sexual assault survivors. But then again, we shouldn't be shocked.

Boys will be boys, right?

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Honoring Our Veterans and Survivors of Sexual Assault


As we honor service members on Memorial Day, we especially recognize those who have endured sexual assault. It's time to end this grave injustice against women and men in the military who dedicate their lives to protecting our right to freedom and privacy.

The numbers are astonishing:

Please help us raise awareness about the sexual assault crisis in the military by sharing our graphic with your friends on Facebook:


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Where is the Outrage Over Sexual Assault in the Military?


Military woman salute_small.jpgUnbelievable.

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.

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Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Military


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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Congress Votes to Support Rape Survivors in the Military


Today, Congress voted to lift the law banning servicewomen who survive sexual assault and become pregnant from using their military health plan to cover abortion care!

We couldn't be happier that Congress put the needs of our servicewomen before personal agendas. It was the right thing to do.


This policy win would not have been possible without the leadership of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who authored the repeal in the FY13 DoD bill.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has been working on this issue for more than 15 years, and we couldn't have achieved this important victory without your help.

We're also grateful to President Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. These leaders all voiced their support of the Shaheen amendment, and marked their commitment to rape survivors in the military.

We also can't forget the 98 senators who voted for the Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Defense (DoD) authorization bill containing the Shaheen amendment.

We hope Congress will keep fighting to make sexual assault in the military a thing of the past. Until that happens, it is good to know that politicians aren't turning their backs on servicewomen who find themselves in these tragic circumstances.

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Justice for Rape Survivors in the Military


We're ready to say goodbye and good riddance to an anti-choice policy that's an injustice to women in the military.

Today, was a big step forward for the health and safety of women in the military. Members of the House and Senate have agreed to consider language and are expected to vote to lift the ban on servicewomen who survive sexual assault and become pregnant from using their military health plan to cover abortion care!

We're so close to a victory that will mean everything to the thousands of servicewomen who are raped every year. Finally, these women will be able to use their insurance plan for abortion care if they choose to. It's the right thing to do.

The next step will be for the full House and Senate to vote on the final language. We'll keep you posted!

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Stand By Rape Survivors in the Military


military-woman.jpgOn 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.

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Supporting Servicewomen


As my colleague Thomas wrote recently, it's outrageous that women in the military who survive rape can't use their military health insurance to cover abortion care. That's out of step with current Medicaid law and with the federal government's health-insurance programs for civilians.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced an amendment to correct this unjust policy, and it will go to the full Senate for a vote soon.

The amendment is backed by many retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces. They joined with Sen. Shaheen today for a press conference to support it.


Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, expressed her support for the amendment:

"It's time to end discrimination against our servicewomen and provide them with the same care women receive here at home. We salute Sen. Shaheen and these military leaders for speaking out for women serving our country. Protecting those who serve our country falls in line with our American values. It is a tragedy that this commonsense policy is continually subjected to political attacks."

On, retired members of the military are speaking out in support of this amendment.

You can help, too. Take action now and tell your senators to support Sen. Shaheen's amendment.

The brave women in the military, who sacrifice so much for us, deserve our support.

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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.

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Two pro-choice lawmakers from my home state are sponsoring the MARCH Act--legislation that would lift the ban on abortion care for military women who are survivors of rape and incest.

Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York introduced the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York will introduce the Senate version of the bill in the coming weeks.

The MARCH Act would end the discriminatory law that forces women in the military who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault to pay the bill if they choose abortion. 

Servicewomen are denied the right to have their health benefits cover abortion care in these tragic circumstances simply because of anti-choice politics. This ban adds insult to injury, and goes beyond the restrictions of the Hyde amendment

The legislation would also lift the ban that forbids doctors at military hospitals from providing abortion care, even if a woman pays for it herself.

Last month, Reps. Susan Davis of California, Robert Andrews of New Jersey, Diana DeGette of Colorado, Carolyn Maloney of New York, Loretta Sanchez of California, and Louise Slaughter of New York offered an amendment that would have allowed military health plans to cover abortion care for rape survivors. Yet, the anti-choice House leadership refused even to let this amendment go to the full House for a vote!

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that the MARCH Act will let Americans know where their lawmakers stand:

This bill will force anti-choice lawmakers to go on the record as to whether they believe that women who put their lives on the line for their country should face more obstacles than women stateside when it comes to making personal, private decisions.

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A Tale of Two Amendments


Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an extreme amendment offered by anti-choice Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina that dictates what doctors and medical students can and can't learn about providing abortion care. 

In a story that quotes NARAL Pro-Choice America, The Associated Press calls the Foxx amendment "the latest in a series of anti-abortion measures pushed by the Republican majority."

The House Committee on Rules blocked an amendment from going to vote on Wednesday that would have allowed military rape victims to access abortion care through their government-provided health plans.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the House leadership's actions outrageous:

Apparently Speaker John Boehner and his allies believe that women who put their lives on the line for their country should face more obstacles than women stateside when it comes to making personal, private decisions. It is unconscionable.

Just when you thought the House leadership's attacks on women's freedom and privacy couldn't get any more extreme, they go and outdo themselves.

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