Shaheen, Gillibrand Urge Defense Secretary Austin to Protect Abortion Rights for Service Members

Might 12, 2022

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) these days despatched a letter with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urging him to act proactively to secure assistance members’ abortion legal rights. If the Supreme Courtroom overturns Roe v. Wade, hundreds of hundreds of troops, dependents and DoD civilians stationed in states that ban abortion will drop accessibility to lifesaving reproductive overall health care and may perhaps even encounter prison prosecution. The Senators urge the Secretary to employ policy modifications to grant provider associates in want of an abortion permission to journey throughout point out strains to access reproductive well being care and abortions.

Addressing the leaked draft feeling, the Senators wrote, “If the feeling goes into influence, hundreds of countless numbers of troops, dependents, and DOD civilians will get rid of obtain to risk-free abortions and potentially facial area legal prosecution for training a essential human right—creating a state of affairs the place servicemembers’ reproductive and healthcare rights would come to be dependent on their obligation station.”

The Senators pushed the Secretary on what techniques the Defense Department is getting, composing, “At a minimum amount, you and your personnel need to think about implementing policy improvements to permit servicemembers to get hold of, for case in point, distinctive liberty or permissive short-term added responsibility permissions in buy to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these legal rights immediately after the Dobbs choice is issued.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-Hello), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

Shaheen is an unrelenting advocate for women’s reproductive legal rights. For years, Shaheen has fought to extend protection of women’s preventative care, together with as a result of her laws to decrease the charge of contraception for servicewomen and dependents in armed service families. On Monday, she and the delegation held a press meeting with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to talk about what is at stake for women’s reproductive health in New Hampshire if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, and yesterday she spoke on the Senate ground to urge lawmakers to vote in favor of legislation that would codify Roe. In March, she joined HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in Manchester for a conference with New Hampshire household scheduling vendors amid continued attacks from State and congressional Republicans, which include the abortion ban and costly, needless ultrasound mandate signed into law. She’s also led the delegation in pushing for Title X funding, and in January, she applauded a $500,000 Title X Dire Want Grant award by HHS for PPNNE.

The complete text of the letter is accessible below or below:

Pricey Secretary Austin,

Final week, a draft belief for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Wellbeing Corporation was revealed in the push and the Supreme Court verified its authenticity.  Though the remaining viewpoint could alter, a last choice from the Court docket undermining fifty many years of precedent proven by Roe v. Wade would wipe out the fundamental human and reproductive rights of tens of millions of women of all ages, willfully disregarding community belief and court precedent. As we await the Court’s ultimate selection, we can’t wait to act.

If the feeling goes into outcome, hundreds of hundreds of troops, dependents, and DOD civilians will get rid of entry to risk-free abortions and potentially deal with prison prosecution for training a fundamental human right—creating a situation exactly where servicemembers’ reproductive and health care rights would come to be dependent on their duty station. A soldier at Fort Drum would keep their personal autonomy while a soldier at Fort Hood would not. A servicemember raped by their supervisor in Mississippi, Kentucky, or Oklahoma would not be permitted to attain an abortion in those people states. In sites like Missouri, legislators have sought to ban abortions even for ectopic pregnancies, leaving a servicemember or their dependent dealing with a selection of demise or felony activity. This final result would violate the trust servicemembers put in the Armed Forces when they swear an oath to defend the Structure.

This final decision will serve as a menace to recruitment and retention as servicemembers elect to depart the army fairly than PCS to a obligation station the place they and their family will be denied fundamental rights. Other folks will forego navy service entirely. Very good buy and self-control is placed at danger as servicemembers should look at irrespective of whether to break state law—including proposed guidelines that would find to criminalize crossing state traces to get hold of an abortion.

As the chief of our armed service services, it falls upon you to protect the wellness and welfare of our troopers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians. With our state struggling with the probably rollback of private legal rights, what are you and your staff carrying out in preparing to safeguard the wellness and welfare of those people beneath your command? What steps will you consider to support servicemembers in want of an abortion? At a minimum, you and your workers should really contemplate applying coverage modifications to enable servicemembers to obtain, for example, unique liberty or permissive short-term added obligation permissions in get to travel out of point out for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these rights immediately after the Dobbs conclusion is issued.

The guys and females who join the navy sacrifice an outstanding total in get to provide their country. We owe it to these servicemembers to seem right after them and be certain they have the skill to carry on accessing safe and sound reproductive healthcare no make a difference where in the nation their military service sends them.

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By Harriet