While all federal employees are denied coverage for abortion in most circumstances thanks to the unjust and discriminatory Hyde amendment, the more than 400,000 women who serve in our military are uniquely screwed over. Military hospitals are prohibited from providing abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment–even if the woman pays with her own funds. And the ban on military insurance coverage of abortion doesn’t even include an exception for rape and incest.
This is especially shameful considering the military’s got a pretty major problem with rape. Last year, the Pentagon estimated there were about 19,000 sexual assaults. The servicewomen who get pregnant from these attacks–which are usually at the hands of their fellow soldiers and often ignored by the military hierarchy–have to foot the bill themselves if they want an abortion.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen has attached an amendment to the defense spending bill to finally end this unfair policy. Check out this new ad campaign from the ACLU and retired military leaders and veterans, visit Stand With Servicewomen to sign the petition, and help spread the word.
Transcript after the jump.
Transcript: As a soldier in Iraq, I put my life on the line to protect and defend my country. I fought for the freedom and justice our country stands for. Yet, I’m denied proper reproductive health care benefits; denied abortion care even if I’m the victim of rape. I expected the horror of war in Iraq–but I expected better from my own government.