Daily Takedown

Abortion in the Military

May is #MilitaryAppreciationMonth and you know how people could REALLY show they appreciate our service people? Not making them jump through a million hoops for healthcare—especially their right to repro care INCLUDING abortion. Constitution, anybody?

Here’s the shit: the people who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms have their own freedoms trampled on, and sometimes have their lives unnecessarily endangered all so that some defundamentalist asswipe anti-choice politician can tell their mouth-breathing base that they’re not spending any federal money on abortion.  

Late last year, a study on the military’s abortion policy and how it affects our soldiers came out—and it’s a kick in the khakis. Military folks who want or need abortion care get stigmatized, ignored, mistreated, and abandoned. Thanks for your service!

First off, those in the military have a much higher rate of unintended pregnancy than civilians—almost 40 percent higher. Maybe it’s because sexual assault is a virtual epidemic in the military?!?

Those who find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy find that Department of Defense policies don’t allow military medical facilities to perform abortions. And military insurance won’t cover it. Except rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother… but given the rape culture in the military, many won’t speak out.

Unwanted pregnancy can ruin a military career. One soldier said, “I can’t jump out of a plane … pregnant and stuff, and that’s my job.” But STILL, they get ZERO support from the military once they decide on abortion. Another said “Once I told them I wasn’t going to keep it, it was like, ‘OK, you’re on your own.’”

So if a military person needs an abortion, they have to go out and find it on their own. That’s shitty enough in Missouri or Montana. Try doing it in Afghanistan. Or Niger. In lots of deployments a local abortion would be a life-risking proposition. And even if it’s not deadly, it can break a serviceperson’s budget. For some in the study, it cost a full paycheck.

Thanks to the ever-screeching “no federal dollars for abortion” chorus, it’s worse than it ever was. In the 70’s, the military DID provide abortions for service people and dependents. But by the 80’s, a soldier couldn’t even use THEIR OWN MONEY to obtain the service at a military facility. So it’s off to find the best OB-GYN in that part of Syria, right?  

Surprise! Three-quarters of those in the study were Black, Latina, or multiracial, who serve our country in greater numbers. They risk their lives for us. But anti-choice lunatics say no taxpayer money can go for something the Supreme Court said is a Constitutional right. So their lives are even more at risk. Let’s at least not make them have to scrounge up a back-alley abortion in Kandahar, OK?

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