Don’t We Owe our Military Women the Same Protections as the Men?


Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty,(rafflaw), Guest Blogger

In the past we have discussed the ongoing war on Women that is being waged by the Right, but this latest example is a tough one to swallow.  When military women are raped while in the service, it turns out that military health insurance does not cover abortions, even when the servicewoman has been raped.  I discovered this sad fact when I was reading the ACLU Blog.  Jessica Kenyon joined the Army in 2005 and while on duty she was raped by a fellow member of the Army and made the mistake of not reporting it.

“I was raped by a fellow soldier when I was stationed in Korea. I found out I was pregnant as a result of the rape when my commander called me into his office one day to charge me with adultery. A doctor at the medical center had told my commander — but not me — that I was pregnant. I hadn’t reported the rape because I was trying to “soldier on” and I didn’t trust my chain of command. This is an environment where women are constantly targeted for various forms of abuse. As it turns out I was not charged, not because I was raped, but because I was divorced.  Then I faced the fact that military health insurance doesn’t allow abortion coverage in cases of rape, and I was unable to have a safe abortion off-base, so I was stuck. I was discharged from the military due to the trauma of the rape and attacks. I flew back home to the U.S. after being discharged from the Army for my own safety and ended up miscarrying.” ACLU Blog

Doesn’t it seem a tad inequitable that a woman service member cannot be treated for the crimes committed against them by male members of the military?  Congress would cure this problem if given the chance, wouldn’t they?  Congress did have the chance recently and they turned up their collective noses on the idea that military rape victims should be able to obtain an abortion under the military health insurance plans!  “The Davis-Andrews-DeGette-Maloney-Sanchez-Slaughter Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act should have been a no-brainer. It would have allowed the military health system to cover abortion care in cases of rape and incest – just as the federal government does in the Medicaid program, for federal employees and for women who use the Indian Health Service, among others. All the amendment would do is stop singling out U.S. servicewomen and military families for inferior treatment.  And yet, last night, House leadership prevented debate and a floor vote on this important amendment. Never mind that the House will vote on 152 other defense bill amendments; anti-choice members decided that the wellbeing of U.S. servicewomen wasn’t worth 10 minutes of debate.” ACLU Blog   Who are these people who would treat military women different from any other citizen who has been brutally raped?  They are your faithful servants and Representatives in the United States House of Representatives!

I guess the 3,158 reported cases of sexual assault and rape in the military in 2010 was just too small of a number for our Representatives to consider that the victims should have access to the proper health care coverage.  Do you think these Representatives would change their mind if their own daughter, wife, sister or relative was one of the reported or unreported victims of rape in the military??


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