Women who are brutally raped in the U.S. military should not have to pay for their own abortions, but they do. Current federal statute limits the Department of Defense to providing coverage for abortion care only when the pregnant woman’s life is in danger, not in cases of rape and incest. This restriction leaves women who are raped without resources and support. The Pentagon released a report in 2009 on sexual abuse in the military, saying that more than 2,900 sexual assaults were reported in 2008, up nearly 9% from the year before. Nearly 2/3 of the cases involved rape or aggravated assault.
Because the Department of Defense does not pay for their abortions, female service members impregnated after being raped often resort to paying for their own abortions at unsanitary local service providers in hostile environments like Afghanistan and Iraq. This policy endangers both the physical and emotional health of female soldiers and should not be tolerated.
The Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health Act (MARCH) would provide coverage for women receiving abortions in cases of rape and incest as well as allow these women to have privately-funded abortions at military treatment facilities.