“The Supreme Court has not only taken a wrecking ball to reproductive rights – it has taken a wrecking ball to military readiness. America will be less secure as a result.”
WASHINGTON, DC – The Vet Voice Foundation is calling attention to the impact today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have on the military and national security. In a statement, Marine Corps Veteran and CEO of the Vet Voice Foundation, Janessa Goldbeck, said:
“By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has not only taken a wrecking ball to reproductive rights – it has taken a wrecking ball to military readiness. America will be less secure as a result.
“Even before today, abortion services for active duty troops and their families were limited and only provided if the pregnancy was a result of sexual assault or threatened the life of the pregnant person. Service members and their families who require abortion care for any other reason must go off-base and pay out of pocket for these services. Despite the court’s ruling today, this continues to be true.
“But as of today’s ruling, tens of thousands of military troops and their families are now stationed in states where abortion is banned and criminalized. There are no longer off-base options for these members of our military and their families. Service members who need abortion care for any other reason will have to travel through multiple states on their own dime just to get to a state where abortion is legal.
“This inflicts a significant cost – not only to the service member but to overall military readiness – by forcing troops to take significant leave from their post. Most alarmingly, those who require emergency surgical abortion services not available on their military installations may not be able to reach them in time, threatening their very lives.
“Further, the privacy of service members who become pregnant will essentially become non-existent. Those who wish to terminate a pregnancy or who must terminate a pregnancy out of medical necessity will be forced to tell their superiors in order to seek leave, making a private and often painful decision public.
“Worse, their fate will be determined by those same superiors who may have their own personal views on the issue of abortion. This means that a member of the United States military may be forced to carry a pregnancy to term simply because her commanding officer will not approve her leave request.
“The Department of Defense must take steps immediately to ensure all of our service members and their families have access to abortion care. The military must institute and enforce clear directives that allow troops and their families to access abortion care, no matter where they are stationed, in a way that maintains their privacy.
“For lawmakers, the time is long overdue to consider whether the Hyde Amendment and ban on comprehensive abortion services on DOD facilities is consistent with military readiness. In light of the ruling today, these policies are significantly greater risks to our national security than they were yesterday.
“Additionally, the VA, which is not subject to Hyde, should immediately conduct a full review of the regulations that govern its own restrictions on abortion care. Secretary McDonough may have the authority to overturn the existing regulation and begin providing abortion care to VA patients.
“All of us who served took an oath to uphold and protect our Constitution. It is an oath that we take seriously. While we recognize that the Constitution allows for the Supreme Court to make this terrible decision, it does not require us to be silent or forbid us from fighting to restore our rights.
“As veterans, we served our country overseas in defense of freedom. We will not be silent as the freedom to make our own choices about our bodies is taken away here at home. We will not stop fighting until reproductive rights are fully restored for all our troops and for all Americans.”