Rosen, Colleagues Urge Defense Secretary to Protect Reproductive Rights for Servicemembers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and five other colleagues in writing a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin urging him to act proactively to protect servicemembers’ access to reproductive healthcare. 

If the Supreme Court’s draft opinion in the Dobbs case goes into effect and strikes down Roe, hundreds of thousands of troops, dependents, and DoD civilians stationed in states that ban abortion care services will lose access to critical reproductive health care and may even face criminal prosecution in seeking care. The senators are urging the Secretary to implement policy changes to grant service members in need of abortion care services permission to travel across state lines to access comprehensive reproductive health care. 

Addressing the leaked draft opinion, the senators wrote, “If the opinion goes into effect, hundreds of thousands of troops, dependents, and DOD civilians will lose access to safe abortions and potentially face criminal prosecution for exercising a fundamental human right—creating a scenario where servicemembers’ reproductive and healthcare rights would become dependent on their duty station.” 

The senators pushed the secretary on what steps the Defense Department is taking, writing, “at a minimum, you and your staff should consider implementing policy changes to allow servicemembers to obtain, for example, special liberty or permissive temporary additional duty permissions in order to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these rights after the Dobbs decision is issued.”

The full text of the letter can be found aquí.