Before the Supreme Court's expected rule overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that forbids states from prohibiting the practice, House Democrats are working to ensure that service personnel can take leave to seek an abortion.
Pentagon employees and members of the Armed Forces who are pregnant can't be denied leave for abortions. Or their spouses or partners can ask for a break to assist a pregnant individual getting an abortion.."
The defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will meet behind closed doors on Wednesday to advance the budget package.
While the provision has a long way to go before becoming law, and it is expected to face Republican efforts to remove it from the bill throughout the legislative process, its inclusion underscores Democrats' readiness to fight for abortion rights in the military.
Democrats appear to be preparing to use the yearly defense bills as a battleground for abortion rights, with senators saying that a separate defense policy measure to be considered by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees could also address the subject.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, stated at a Senate Armed Services Committee personnel subcommittee meeting Tuesday to discuss an initial draught of the defense policy bill that "service members have the right to govern their bodies no matter where they are stationed." "This committee should ensure that right is protected."
In its portion of the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA, the personnel subcommittee did not include anything about abortion. However, Hirono and four other Senate Armed Services Committee members have filed a bill allowing the military to pay for and perform abortions. On Wednesday, the full committee will begin debating the NDAA and proposing amendments.
As of today, federal law prevents Tricare, the military's health insurance, from funding abortions that aren't necessary to save the mother's life or avoid an incestuous pregnancy.