New Hampshire’s senior senator Jeanne Shaheen, who introduced the amendment repealing the ban that had been in effect since 1981 (PDF) called the bills passage an “important step” toward ending a policy that was “blatantly unfair to women putting their lives on the line.”
Currently, military insurance only covers abortions performed to save the life of the mother, and military health care facilities will only perform them to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape and incest. Shaheen’s amendment will let insurance pick up the cost of the procedure in such cases, rather than forcing the woman to pay out of pocket.
Before the bill’s passage, “military women have been in a situation that has not applied to anybody else covered by federal health care,” Shaheen told the Daily Beast earlier this month. “Even if you’re in federal prison and you are raped you can get abortion coverage. That has not been true for military women since the early eighties.”
Roughly 215,000 women currently serve, making up nearly 15 percent of the U.S. military.