NEW: Shaheen Unveils New Laws to Present U.S. Service Members Entry to Protected Go away for Abortion & Reproductive Well being Care Companies

NEW: Shaheen Unveils New Laws to Present U.S. Service Members Entry to Protected Go away for Abortion & Reproductive Well being Care Companies

Might 16, 2023

**Invoice follows Shaheen’s March letter to Pentagon management in help of DOD well being care coverage to supply depart for U.S. army personnel for reproductive care.**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Companies Committeeunveiled new laws at present – the Defending Service Members and Navy Households’ Entry to Well being Care Act – that may codify the Division of Protection’s (DOD) February 16, 2023 policy to make sure service members and their households can entry non-covered reproductive well being care, together with abortion companies, whatever the state during which they’re stationed.

Shaheen’s laws follows her lettersigned by 37 Senate Democrats, to Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin in March reaffirming help for the reproductive well being care insurance policies issued by DOD earlier this yr and the suitable of service members and their members of the family to entry reproductive well being companies with out penalty or extra value as a consequence of their service.  An estimated 40 % of active-duty servicewomen, who’re stationed primarily based on the wants of the nation and never private choice, now serve in states which have banned, restricted or labored to curtail entry to abortion because the overturn of Roe v. Wade final yr. Shaheen’s invoice is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Hirono (D-HI), Blumenthal (D-CT), Fetterman (D-PA), Gillibrand (D-NY), King (I-ME), Hickenlooper (D-CO), Cardin (D-MD), Warren (D-MA), Baldwin (D-WI), Duckworth (D-IL), Welch (D-VT), Wyden (D-OR), Sanders (I-VT), Carper (D-DE), Murray (D-WA), Booker (D-NJ), Bennet (D-CO), Kelly (D-AZ), Klobuchar (D-MN), Feinstein (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Rosen (D-NV), Markey (D-MA) and Durbin (D-IL).

The Defending Service Members and Navy Households’ Entry to Well being Care Act is endorsed by the Deliberate Parenthood Federation of America, the Nationwide Ladies’s Legislation Middle, VoteVets, the Middle for Reproductive Rights, the Service Ladies’s Motion Community, Vet Voice Basis, Energy to Resolve, American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society for Reproductive Medication and the Nationwide Partnership for Ladies and Households.

“The onslaught of anti-women legal guidelines enacted throughout our nation because the Supreme Court docket overturned Roe v. Wade have imperiled girls’s entry to complete well being care companies, together with abortion. Amongst these most weak to those harmful legal guidelines are servicewomen and army households, who haven’t any selection over the place they’re stationed and what state legal guidelines might govern girls’s our bodies. That’s why it’s paramount that Congress act to enshrine present Division of Protection coverage to guard servicewomen and army households and supply them essential depart for reproductive well being care companies,” mentioned Senator Shaheen. “It’s shameful that Republicans have pushed Congress so far – that we have to safeguard paid depart so army personnel and their family members can search out the well being care they want. The assaults on girls waged by Republicans are placing girls’s lives in danger, and on this case, additionally compromising army readiness. Servicewomen shouldn’t be put on this place within the first place. I’ll do all the pieces I can to mitigate the impression they might really feel from these excessive insurance policies and guarantee their well being and security comes first.”

“Everybody ought to have the liberty to regulate their very own our bodies, lives, and futures. The Defending Service Members and Navy Households’ Entry to Well being Care Act helps make {that a} actuality for service members and their family members, by making everlasting a Division of Protection coverage that expands entry to abortion and fertility care. That is particularly necessary as anti-abortion extremists decimate abortion entry throughout this nation, forcing these searching for abortion care to face more and more insurmountable limitations,” mentioned Jackii Wang, Senior Legislative Analyst for Reproductive Rights & Well being on the Nationwide Ladies’s Legislation Middle (NWLC). “We thank Senator Shaheen for introducing this necessary laws.”

“Anybody who wants an abortion ought to be capable to take paid day off from work and have the sources to journey to obtain the care they want,” mentioned Jocelyn Frye, President of the Nationwide Partnership for Ladies & Households. “That is significantly true for service members and their households, lots of whom faithfully serve our nation in states with excessive abortion bans with devastating results on the supply of complete reproductive well being care. We’re grateful to Senator Shaheen for working to make sure that service members who give a lot on behalf of our nation can safe significant entry to abortion care.”

“Because the Supreme Court docket took away a lady’s assured proper to decide on, the patchwork of legal guidelines throughout the nation have led to nothing however confusion and frustration for individuals who want abortion companies probably the most. The army has executed what it will possibly to assist alleviate these points, and assist make it simpler for girls service members entry reproductive care after they want it. This can be a nationwide safety situation, plain and easy. It impacts retention of our greatest service members. It impacts readiness and cohesion. It impacts recruiting. We applaud Senator Shaheen for drafting laws that protects those that placed on the uniform to guard us,” mentioned Janessa Goldbeck, CEO, Vet Voice Basis.

“At a time when restrictions on reproductive well being care advance in quite a few states, Senator Shaheen’s proposal enshrining protections for girls service members within the legislation is extra necessary than ever. We merely can not enable fringe anti-choice politicians to impose their radical social agenda on our army, which might harm our readiness, stymie our recruiting, and make us much less protected. Any Senator who cares about holding our army and nation sturdy ought to help this invoice,” mentioned Mary Kaszynski, Director of Authorities Relations, VoteVets.

“Our service members and their households routinely sacrifice for this nation. It’s previous time that we codify their entry to journey for complete reproductive care, together with abortion companies. This invoice would be sure that our service members and their households have entry to protecting depart and privateness to make use of the total spectrum of reproductive healthcare together with fertility care. Service members and their households don’t management the place they’re stationed, and their entry to care shouldn’t be restricted by the whims of lawmakers within the state the place they serve. Everybody who put their lives on the road for this nation deserve unfettered entry to reproductive healthcare. Absolutely the least that we are able to do as a rustic is to help their family-building journey wants. I applaud Senator Shaheen for her management and dedication to our service members,” mentioned Dr. Michael Thomas, President of the American Society for Reproductive Medication (ASRM).

Particularly, Shaheen’s invoice would:

  • Enable service members to entry non-covered reproductive well being care by an administrative absence, to stop lack of accrued depart and with full pay;
  • Enable a service member to accompany a partner or dependent who receives non-covered reproductive well being care by an administrative absence;
  • Present a service member, or their dependent, entry to journey and transportation allowances to obtain non-covered reproductive well being care (this doesn’t embrace fee for the reproductive care companies); and
  • Make sure the safety of the privateness of the service member requesting administrative absence with a purpose to entry or accompany a partner or dependent accessing non-covered reproductive well being care.

Shaheen’s new invoice follows her renewed bipartisan push last week on her legislation to deliver well being care supplied by the army according to present legislation for civilian populations by making certain that those that obtain well being care by the army have entry to all types of contraception accredited by the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) with no medical health insurance co-pay. The laws would additionally assure entry to emergency contraception for survivors of sexual assault upon their request and require the Division of Protection to develop a complete household planning schooling program. Although Shaheen has historically led the laws in earlier years, this renewed bipartisan effort is extra necessary than ever amid the unprecedented reversal of Roe v. Wade and quite a few anti-reproductive well being legal guidelines which have been enacted throughout the nation.

Senator Shaheen is an unrelenting advocate for women’s reproductive rights. A senior member of the Senate Armed Companies Committee, in 2013, Shaheen included an modification to the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act (NDAA) which expanded entry to abortion take care of servicewomen to deliver the Division of Protection to parity with different federal businesses. Final yr, Shaheen offered an amendment to the Fiscal 12 months (FY) 2023 NDAA that may have enshrined the suitable for service members to entry protected depart for abortion care and companies. Because the Supreme Court docket’s reversal of Roe v. Wade19 states have enacted whole or partial abortion bans, limiting entry to important reproductive take care of hundreds of active-duty service girls stationed within the continental United States.

Invoice textual content of the laws is on the market here.

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