After the overruling of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, the Pentagon has decided to provide funding to troops who need to travel out of state to get an abortion. The purpose of this decision is to ensure female service members are getting the support they need from the U.S. Military.

What we know:

A memo was issued Thursday by Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin presenting new policies that will come into play before the end of the year. These policies will protect the privacy of all parties involved as well as give guarantees for military healthcare providers. Providers who perform a limited amount of abortions under the Hyde amendment in states where abortion is illegal.

The details:

Photo Credit: Maria Oswalt

Service members already get leave time for traveling to get an abortion, however the latest policies will make sure service members are reimbursed for their time off and travel costs for out of state medical services. The only funding they do not cover is the actual abortion.

“I am committed to the department taking all appropriate action, within its authority and consistent with applicable federal law, as soon as possible to ensure that our service members and their families can access reproductive health care and our health care providers can operate effectively,” stated Austin about the new policy.

Deserved assistance:

“The practical effects of recent changes are that significant numbers of Service members and their families may be forced to travel greater distances, take more time off from work, and pay more out of pocket expenses to receive reproductive health care,” Austin continued.

“In my judgment, such effects qualify as unusual, extraordinary, hardship, or emergency circumstances for Service members and their dependents and will interfere with our ability to recruit, retain, and maintain the readiness of a highly qualified force,” he added.

The U.S. Military health care system

The U.S. Military health care system continues to be supported by the Hyde Amendment. Where in the case of rape, incest, or the mother’s life is at risk, service members are allowed to have abortions.

On Thursday one of the defense officials told the press that since 2016 almost 100 abortions were covered under the Hyde amendment for military personnel.

Members of the Military who needed an abortion outside of reasons under the Hyde Amendment had to seek out their healthcare providers to perform the procedures.

Service members now have 20 weeks to notify their commanders of their pregnancy. As opposed to the two weeks they had before the new policies.