Department Of Defense Promises To Protect Abortion Access After SCOTUS Overturns Roe
Across America, people with uteruses are reeling from Friday’s Supreme Court ruling. The Federal government, and in particular the military, are looking for ways to fill the gap in coverage for their employees.
The decision didn’t come as much of a surprise, especially after the leak last month, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a shock, nor that it isn’t devastating. It’s even more so as right-wing politicians openly discuss efforts to make sure the ban hits every state.
However, there are some piecemeal efforts in Federal government to extend protections to at least some of those who would potentially suffer from this decision — namely, their own employees.
The Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, tweeted on Friday to promise that the Department of Defense will stand up for its employees and ensure that they can access reproductive health care as needed.
The Department is examining this decision closely and evaluating our policies to ensure we continue to provide seamless access to reproductive health care as permitted by federal law.
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) June 24, 2022
Axios reports that this move may actually make abortion care more accessible to military members than before SCOTUS’ decision, since military facilities and health insurance currently cover abortion only in limited circumstances — rape, incest, and to save the life or health of the pregnant individual.
It won’t just be military members the Federal government is moving to protect, either — Secretary of State Antony Blinken also weighed in on Friday, promising that the State Department is “fully committed to helping provide accessto reproductive health services” and “will do everything possible to ensure that all our employees have access to reproductive health services, wherever they live.”
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 25, 2022
Of course, addressing the needs of government employees and military members is a drop in the bucket, but the show of support at least hints at the overall sentiment towards abortion care access, and the Administration has indicated a a willingness to enshrine abortion access rights into law, if Congress will do their part.