This really says it all, doesn’t it?

“A female solider in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by military fire,” declared a piece on rape in the US military in the Guardian last December. As if the details of ensuing isolation, lack of psychological support and risk of homelessness weren’t enough, one travesty was left out: unless life is at risk, military medical insurance does not fund abortion for women who are left pregnant after such attacks. Period.

Even if a woman can afford to pay for her own termination, military hospitals are currently outlawed from performing the procedure. The March Act, proposed by senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Barbara Boxer, Jeanne Shaheen, Patty Murray and Frank Lautenberg, seeks to change that. Endorsed by the Department of Defence, and given its appeal to patriotism as much as its pinpointing of this grievous human rights violation, can this be the law to finally persuade America’s anti-choicers of the compassionate abortion argument? Or will it merely be the exception that proves the rule?

Much of the current legislative restriction on civilian abortion in the US relates to the 1976 Hyde amendment, which declared that federal funding should not cover abortion (initially relating to services offered by the low-income healthcare provider Medicaid), except in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother was at risk. Its relevance was alarmingly renewed in March 2010 when Barack Obama signed an executive order reiterating that protection of federal funds to save the $940bn healthcare bill.

One thought on “Insanity

  1. I’ve never been in the military, but I wasn’t surprised when I read one soldier’s account. She pointed out that female soldiers often handle the stress of never knowing when you’ll be shot at, while male soldiers often freak out. Or at least think it’s a big accomplishment if they can deal with it. For the women, it’s just a shrug of the shoulders and “Welcome to my world.”

    It’s beyond horrific that the crimes of male soldiers get heaped on top of that and nobody in authority — except some Congresswomen — can find it in them to care. Why is Kristof practically the only visible man out there who understands that attacks against women are attacks against people?

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