Whether or not there's a war on women, congressional Republicans seem to be woefully unconcerned about women at war.
The Pentagon reported 471 rapes of servicemembers in 2011, a number that grossly underestimates the actual number of sexual assaults. And although the military is trying to reduce instances of rape through education and prevention programs, it would be sane and reasonable for the Defense Department to offer women some options in case their assault results in pregnancy.
Unfortunately, current policy follows the Rick Santorum's policy of turning rape lemons into baby lemonade. A pregnancy cannot be aborted at a military facility, even in cases of rape or incest, nor will military insurance cover abortion at an off-base facility. It's a more restrictive policy than that offered to State Department workers or the guards in the federal prison system. Or inmates in the federal prison system.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen has led the effort to provide military families with the same access to abortion that other federal employees receive, but although it's found bipartisan support in the Senate, the measure is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled House…
"We don't really understand why anybody would oppose [Shaheen's bill]," says Sharon Levin, the director of federal reproductive health policy at the National Women's Law Center. "The only reason it wouldn't go through is if the Republican leadership in the House tried to block it."
That appears likely. A GOP staffer "familiar with defense issues" told Army Times last week that the Shaheen amendment "stands little chance of surviving" when the House and Senate meet to work out their differences on the defense bill. "Historically, social provisions that are not reflected in both bills heading into conference don't survive," the staffer said—conceding that the House version of the defense bill will not include anything like Shaheen's proposal.
Women just can't catch a break. Research confirms that Tea Party Republicans are uninterested in almost any topic that features more than two syllables, and the one exception is "abortion?"
Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Abortion, Crime, Department of Defense, Jeanne Shaheen, Military, Women's Rights