Rosen, Colleagues Call on Pentagon to Protect Female Servicemembers’ Reproductive Rights

LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and other members of the committee in a letter urging the Department of Defense to take immediate steps to support and protect female servicemembers seeking abortion services following the Supreme Court’s dangerous and deeply harmful decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. As a result of the decision, hundreds of thousands of troops, military family members, and Defense Department civilians have lost access to reproductive health care and now face threats of criminal prosecution, depending on the location of their duty station.

“The men and women who join the military sacrifice an incredible amount in order to serve their country. We owe it to these service members to look after them and ensure they have the ability to continue accessing safe reproductive health care no matter where their military service sends them,” the members wrote. 

The members asked the department to take immediate action allow people to be granted permission to take necessary travel to seek abortion care, grant individuals—including those stationed overseas— Permissive Temporary Additional Duty to seek reproductive care instead of annual leave, and establish independent advocates or liaisons to assist individuals. 

“As a result of the ruling, a servicemembers’ reproductive and health care rights have become dependent on their duty station,” wrote the members. “Many of the states expected to prohibit or greatly limit abortions are home to military installations including Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas. In Missouri, even in cases of ectopic pregnancies, doctors are forced to wait to the point at which a mother’s life is threatened before lifesaving abortion procedures can be performed.  These law could force service members in these states to face criminal prosecution or life-threatening circumstances.”

The members also highlighted that not only does the Supreme Court’s decision violate the trust servicemembers place in our military, but it may also impact Armed Forces recruitment and retention. 

Full text of the letter is available here