In a statement responding to the Supreme Court’s move to strike down Roe v. Wade, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin declared that the Department of Defense is assessing its policies to make sure it keeps providing “seamless access to reproductive health care as permitted by federal law.”
“Nothing is more important to me or to this Department than the health and well-being of our Service members, the civilian workforce and DOD families,” Austin said in a statement. “I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our Force. The Department is examining this decision closely and evaluating our policies to ensure we continue to provide seamless access to reproductive health care as permitted by federal law.”
The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe means that states can now ban abortions.
A previously leaked draft opinion had revealed that the high court was poised to reject Roe, and last month, liberal lawmakers urged Austin to ensure that service members would be able to travel to get abortions if the high court issued such a ruling.
“If the opinion goes into effect, hundreds of thousands of troops, dependents, and DOD civilians will lose access to safe abortions and potentially face criminal prosecution for exercising a fundamental human right—creating a scenario where servicemembers’ reproductive and healthcare rights would become dependent on their duty station,” the senators said in the letter.
“At a minimum, you and your staff should consider implementing policy changes to allow servicemembers to obtain, for example, special liberty or permissive temporary additional duty permissions in order to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these rights after the Dobbs decision is issued,” the lawmakers declared.
While the ruling represents a tremendous victory for the pro-life movement, Democrats have been in an uproar, with many claiming that the decision marks a “dark day” for the country.