Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

The controversial reproductive health care used 12 times in 7 months.

By triji Mar 27, 2024
News

During the period of June to December of the previous year,

the Pentagon reported that a contentious policy that allows military members to be reimbursed for travel expenses in the event that they or a family member are required to travel to another state for reproductive health care, including abortions, was only utilized twelve times.

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — Only twelve instances of a contentious military policy that permits service members to be paid for travel expenses if they or a family member are required to go out of state for reproductive health care, including abortions, were utilized between June and December of the previous year, according to a statement released by the Pentagon on Tuesday.

Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin put into effect the policy in order to guarantee that military members who were stationed in places where abortions or other forms of medical care, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy, were no longer available might still have access to these treatments.

Not only did the policy provoke controversy in certain quarters, but it also prompted Senator Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, to put on hold hundreds of promotions in the military for several months in an unsuccessful effort to get the Pentagon to withdraw it. In the end, Tuberville retracted all of his holds around the month of December.

Sabrina Singh, the deputy press secretary for the Pentagon, stated on Tuesday that during the seven-month period in question, the travel policy was utilized by service members or their families a total of twelve times, resulting in a cost of around forty thousand dollars. The funds were used to pay the costs of housing, meals, and transportation for patients who traveled to take care in another state.

Due to the fact that the services did not have a method to track those uses when the policy was initially enacted, the Pentagon stated that it did not have any data on the first five months of the year 2023 during that time period.

It is not apparent how many of the twelve trips were for abortions or other types of reproductive health care, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy, because the policy does not cover the expense of abortions. Due to concerns regarding the confidentiality of medical information, Singh stated that the Pentagon would not be able to provide a detailed breakdown of the services that were requested by the service members or their dependents.

In accordance with federal legislation, medical facilities affiliated with the Department of Defense are only permitted to carry out abortions in situations where the life of the pregnant individual is in danger or where there is a case of rape or incest, and these situations have been exceptionally uncommon. The department reports that between the years 2016 and 2021, there were 91 abortions carried out in medical facilities that are affiliated with the military.

Because they were afraid that any comments they made would be interpreted as political, many of the military commanders who were directly affected by Tuberville’s holds chose not to speak out for a period of several months. However, as the strains that were placed on their life and the lives of the officers who served under them mounted, they started talking about how the uncertainty that surrounded their next move was not only hurting them, but also their children and their spouses.

They talked about how some of their most talented junior officers were going to leave the military because of the instability they saw around them, and how the fact that they had to perform multiple roles because there were so many vacancies was putting an enormous amount of additional stress on a military community that was already working too much.

When U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Eric Smith suffered a heart attack in October, just two days after he had spoken about the stress of the holds at a military conference, the matter reached a point where it became a major concern. The last few weeks have been the only time that Smith has fully returned to his duties.

All rights reserved by The Associated Press, 2024. The owner retains all rights. It is strictly forbidden to print, broadcast, rewrite, or disseminate any parts of this material.

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