Congress looking to provide ‘abortion leave’ for female servicemembers

Virginia Monteiro-Walker, certified nurse midwife, massages the back of first time mom Jessica Garrett during a pregnancy group at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas May 16, 2022.(U.S. Army Photo by Lori Newman)

Congress is currently exploring options for servicewomen to get “abortion leave,” in the aftermath of a recent US Supreme Court ruling.

The US Navy and US Marine Corps currently lack a leave policy for servicewomen to get abortions, particularly when it involves leaving the state.

While Tricare can cover abortions in cases of criminal acts or medical emergency, federal funding can not be used when abortions are used in the form of late-term birth control.

According to USNI News, the Army and Air Force have policies that prevent commanders from denying leave for abortions.

A provision in a version of the Fiscal Year 2022 House appropriations bill for the Department of Defense could allow naval and Marine Corps service members to take leave to travel out of state for an abortion, but the matter is up for debate.

Elsewhere within the DoD, the Pentagon has lifted the blocking of abortion service searches on their computers.

The measure originally took place in 2010, “to maximize available bandwidth for mission purposes,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman told the Military Times.

“We determined in early June that we should absolutely allow content categorized as abortion (to be accessible on DOD networks) based on the healthcare aspects related to the category,” Gorman added.

The matter came up for discussion after the Military Times reported that servicemembers had a hard time looking up Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America sites.

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