St. Louis, Mo., Oct 20, 2022 / 20:00 pm
The Department of Defense is set to create an allowance to pay for service members to travel to obtain abortions, saying the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade “interfere with our ability to recruit, retain, and maintain the readiness of a highly qualified force.”
In an Oct. 20 memo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin directed the DoD to “establish travel and transportation allowances” so that service members and their dependents can access abortion in states that offer it. More than a dozen states now outlaw abortion with limited exceptions.
“The recent Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has impacted access to reproductive health care with readiness, recruiting, and retention implications for the Force,” Austin wrote.
“Since the Supreme Court’s decision, we have heard concerns from many of our Service members and their families about the complexity and the uncertainty that they now face in accessing reproductive health care, including abortion services. We also recognize that recent developments may create legal and financial risk for our health care providers as they carry out their lawful federal duties.