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United States: the Armed Forces are ordered to facilitate their members’ access to abortion | After the repeal of Roe v. Wade

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The United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austinordered this Thursday the Armed Forces that facilitate their members’ access to abortionwhile a growing number of states approve restrictions on that procedure.

In June, the Supreme Court struck down the federal right to abortion, sending the decision back to the states on whether or not to allow it. Since then, a dozen states severely restricted or prohibited the voluntary termination of pregnancy.

It’s makes access to abortion difficult for members of the Armed Forcesforcing those who wish to have an abortion to take leave and travel to places where the procedure is legal.

The decision of the Supreme Court “decreased access to reproductive health care, with impacts on recruitment, retention, and readiness across the force”said a Pentagon official.

“It created complexity, confusion and anxiety for service members and their families, who may now need to travel significant distances to receive reproductive health care,” he added.

Federal law prohibits the Department of Defense from funding or providing abortion services, except in cases of threat to the life of the mother. Nevertheless, Austin issued a memo outlining other steps to ease access.

He asked the department to develop a policy that allows troops take administrative leave to receive “uncovered reproductive health care” and establish travel and transportation allowances to help them cover the costs.

The memorandum also calls for steps to be taken to increase the privacy of its members.

These include extend the time they have to inform their commanders that they are pregnant and to Department of Defense health care providers who may not disclose reproductive health information to commanders.

But there are exceptions to both, such as “occupational health hazards” in the case of the first measure, and “mission damage” in the second.

austin too wants to protect Department of Defense health providers against legal actions resulting from the “proper performance of their official duties”.

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