A new Department of Defense memo indicates that the military is prepared to foot the bill for travel expenses related to abortion services for service members and certain family members.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that established federal abortion rights protections, a number of states passed restrictions on the procedures. For individuals living in these jurisdictions, it could be necessary to travel across state lines to receive an abortion.
According to the memo, this is where the Pentagon comes into play.
The Defense Department is now expected to provide “travel and transportation allowances for Service members and their dependents, as appropriate and consistent with applicable federal law and operational requirements, and as necessary amend any applicable travel regulations, to facilitate official travel to access noncovered reproductive health care that is unavailable within the local area of a Service member’s permanent duty station.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin touted the change, writing that the military has “heard concerns from many of our Service members and their families about the complexity and the uncertainty that they now face in accessing reproductive health care, including abortion services.”
He continued his defense of the funding allowance by noting that service members are “often required to travel or move to meet our staffing, operation, and training requirements” and should not be penalized if they end up in a state with strict abortion laws.
“The practical effects of recent changes are that significant numbers of Service members and their families may be forced to travel greater distances, take more time off from work, and pay more out-of-pocket expenses to receive reproductive health care,” Austin added. “In my judgment, such effects qualify as unusual, extraordinary, hardship, or emergency circumstances for Service members and their dependents and will interfere with our ability to recruit, retain, and maintain the readiness of a highly qualified force.”
This is not the first report that has raised concerns that taxpayer money will be used to transport individuals across state lines to receive an abortion.
In August, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announced his sponsorship of a bill that would prevent federal immigration officials from providing funding for the transportation of undocumented immigrants seeking the procedure.
“The Biden administration continues to push their liberal agenda on hardworking Americans and it has to stop,” he wrote at the time. “As if trying to use taxpayer dollars to fund American citizens’ abortions was not enough, the Biden administration now wants to use taxpayer dollars to fund illegal migrants’ abortions. To protect our nation’s integrity and safety, we must ensure that ICE and HHS cannot sponsor transportation for illegal immigrants to obtain an abortion.”