Around New England

Abortion Is ‘A Readiness Imperative For Our Military,’ U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley Says

July 14, 2023

Helping female military personnel get abortions is necessary to keep the U.S. military ready for action, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley said.

“In addition to full spectrum reproductive care being an essential human right – it is also a readiness imperative for our military,” Pressley said on the U.S. House of Representatives floor Thursday, July 13. “So if you care about the fitness of our military, then part of that readiness imperative includes access to the full spectrum of reproductive care.”

In October 2022, President Joe Biden’s secretary of defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, issued a memo ordering the military to provide time off and to pay for travel expenses for women in the military seeking an abortion.

On Thursday evening July 13, the U.S. House voted 221-213 to approve an amendment to a defense appropriation bill that would “prohibit the Secretary of Defense from paying for or reimbursing expenses relating to abortion services.” The amendment was sponsored by U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).

Fourteen states have banned or seriously restricted abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, sending abortion law back to the states.

“Since draconian and cruel abortion bans have been enacted across the country, pregnant people have been denied care and the outcomes have been debilitating and devastating,” Pressley said.

The vote was almost on straight party lines, with Republicans for it and Democrats against it.

All nine Massachusetts members of the U.S. House are Democrats. All nine voted against the amendment, including Pressley.

Two Republicans (U.S. Representative John Duarte (R-California) and U.S. Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania) voted no; one Democrat (U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) voted yes.

The anti-abortion-travel-funding amendment seems unlikely to survive in the U.S. Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats.


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