It's a Matter of Fairness and Military Readiness
Major General Dennis Laich, United States Army, Retired
Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line for us every day and we should provide them with the best medical care possible. It's a matter of trust between the American people and those who serve.
But a little known discriminatory policy has denied our servicewomen insurance coverage for a health care service they may need in the case of rape. As a result of a law passed by Congress many years ago military women, wives, and daughters are denied insurance coverage for abortion when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. This is wrong. The wrong is compounded by the fact that our government does provide civilians, such as members of Congress and their wives and daughters, with abortion coverage in these difficult circumstances. Our military women deserve the same care and compassion that civilian women currently have.
The abortion coverage ban should be lifted not only because it is a matter of basic fairness but also because its existence hurts our military. As more and more servicemembers learn of this ban, it will damage morale and readiness. From the time I joined the Army in 1971 I was taught that I was obligated as an officer to "take care of the troops." This law flies in the face of that obligation and reduces a soldier's trust in their leaders. Reduced trust in their leaders causes servicemembers to be less inclined to reenlist or enlist in the first place. Additionally, this law may cause a servicewoman to subject herself to second rate medical care leading to complications, long recovery time, and even death.
The current law is indefensible and smacks of hypocrisy anytime any American utters the phrase "support our troops."