Democrats Push Defense Department To Protect Abortion Access

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( – On March 27, Senate Democrats pushed for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to continue allowing military members and their dependents to receive abortion care. According to The Hill, they argued that restricting abortion care for these individuals could negatively impact national security.

Armed Services Committee member and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter alongside nearly 40 other lawmakers lawmakers, writing that “it is imperative” for the Department of Defense to protect the abortion rights of service members and their loved ones. They continued to state that those state laws that restrict access to abortion care for service members are indirectly implying that “the United States does not trust those who serve in uniform” who are also the same people who are trusted with protecting the country.

Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) co-wrote the letter, while 36 Democrats and two independents – Sens. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Angus King (ME) – signed on to support the effort.

Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, 13 states were quick to implement abortion bans that severely restricted who was able to have access to the procedure. The Hill reports that according to the RAND Corporation, around 40 percent of women serving in the US are currently facing abortion restrictions where they are located. Previously the Department of Defense let military treatment facilities offer abortion care in specific circumstances including cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother was in danger.

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