The Pentagon will provide service members with travel funds and resources if they need access to abortions. This comes as many states have adopted strict abortion bans after the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade.
In a memo released Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told the department to implement a host of new reproductive health care policies. The Pentagon created the policies to address troop members' concerns, especially those based in states where abortions are now illegal, per NPR.
"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," Austin wrote.
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A pre-existing federal policy called the Hyde Amendment prohibits using federal funds for abortion with few exceptions. This means most service members must go through a civilian facility to get an abortion, NPR reports.
The new Pentagon policies include provisions for travel funds for service members needing to go out of state for the procedure, resources for their dependents, and an extension of the deadline to report their pregnancy to 20 weeks. The policies also seek to protect healthcare providers who put themselves at risk by providing abortions. One policy promises reimbursement to healthcare providers getting licensed in another state. They also offer them legal support if facing charges in states with strict anti-abortion laws.
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