Opinion Overturning Roe would be disastrous for the U.S. military

cigaretteman

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By Allison Gill
May 18, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. EDT
Thousands of demonstrators march to the Supreme Court during the abortion rights rally in D.C. on May 14. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
Allison Gill is a U.S. Navy veteran, author and co-host of the podcasts “The Daily Beans” and “Mueller, She Wrote.”



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Listen to Allison Gill read her essay, produced by Julie Depenbrock.
Overturning Roe v. Wade could have disastrous consequences for the U.S. armed forces, and here’s how I know: When I was 21, I was drugged and raped violently while serving in the military, a crime that resulted in pregnancy.
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Had I not had access to abortion, the assault would have ended my career and derailed my life. Should Roe be overturned and access to abortion restricted for female service members across the United States, military readiness would be directly affected.
Women make up 14.4 percent of our active-duty military and about 18 percent of our reserve and National Guard. Rape in the military is prevalent: In 2018, the Defense Department reported that roughly 20,500 service members experienced sexual assault, up from 14,900 two years before.
Many states have trigger laws banning or criminalizing abortion that will go into effect as soon as Roe is overturned — a probable outcome considering the Supreme Court draft opinion that leaked earlier this month.
This will immediately affect active-duty service members, who don’t exactly get to choose what state they serve in, and who don’t have the freedom to travel to other states without a leave “chit” approved up the chain of command — a command that is notoriously bad at dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault. Of the 20,500 service members sexually assaulted in 2018, only one-third reported the assault, and 43 percent of those who did said it was a negative experience.
Military leaders are often averse to having sexual assault associated with their command — not to mention the rapist is often in the chain of command. This leads to situations in which it’s unsafe to report rape. And if there’s no safe space to report rape, there’s certainly no safe space to request leave to travel for abortion care.
Potential workarounds such as mail-order abortion medication would most likely be unfeasible. When I served, mail went through the chain of command, and there were inspections to prevent the receipt of contraband. Although I don’t know whether abortion pills received through the mail today would be confiscated, I do know I never would have ordered them, for fear of being caught and disciplined.
When I tried to report my rapist, I was asked the same questions so many victims have heard before: What were you wearing? Were you flirting? Are you in a fight with your boyfriend? A higher-ranking officer told me I could lose my prestigious nuclear position. He said I’d be dishonorably discharged for filing a false report and court-martialed for adultery because my rapist was married.
George Will

counterpointAlito’s argument is less a refutation of Roe than a starting over

“Let’s just chalk this up to what it was,” he said. “Bad judgment on your part.”
I left believing it was my fault — a lie that took over a decade of therapy to undo — and I was terrified to mention it to anyone.
There was no morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy back then. But when I discovered I was pregnant, I was able to access abortion care at a nearby Planned Parenthood, along with a counseling referral. The trauma from the rape almost cost me my life. Access to the care I received afterward saved me.
Now imagine if I hadn’t had that care. Imagine if multitudes of women in the military could not access such care.
In a world without Roe, service members without ready access to abortion care would be trapped. A service member who is raped and becomes pregnant could essentially be forced by the government to carry their pregnancy to term and give birth to their rapist’s baby.
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There are concrete steps U.S. officials can take now to help service members who might need to seek abortion care.
First, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin should create policy granting leave for reproductive-health travel, and President Biden should call on the Defense Department to put that policy into practice.
Second, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) should bring the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) — sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and supported by senators including Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) — to a floor vote. The bill proposes taking the decision to prosecute rape and assault out of the chain of command, which would give active-duty service members a safe space to report.
The MJIA has 67 bipartisan sponsors. But it was killed when Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) insisted it be included in the National Defense Authorization Act, where it was gutted. Gillibrand has continued to push for a vote on the full proposal and has been repeatedly blocked.
This lack of protections is unacceptable. Forcing service members with unwanted pregnancies to covertly seek abortion care — or to carry a pregnancy to term — would be inhumane. If the United States values women’s military service, it must find a way to ensure they have a choice.

 

lucas80

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Worth noting that a lot of people who want to end abortion are also very much in favor of women not being able to serve in the military. Well, girl jobs like nurses are fine.
The toothpaste is out of the tube for the GOP. Is Ron DeSantis going to arrest and prosecute a woman service member stationed in Florida who goes to another state to get an abortion? Missouri is angling that way. Oklahoma is angling that way. It's a full on race to be the most restrictive possible for the 2024 primaries.
 

abby97

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Worth noting that a lot of people who want to end abortion are also very much in favor of women not being able to serve in the military. Well, girl jobs like nurses are fine.
The toothpaste is out of the tube for the GOP. Is Ron DeSantis going to arrest and prosecute a woman service member stationed in Florida who goes to another state to get an abortion? Missouri is angling that way. Oklahoma is angling that way. It's a full on race to be the most restrictive possible for the 2024 primaries.
Ya, not unlike the dems voting to allow an abortion up to birth, that is murder for any sane person. Truthfully, left leaning Europe's abortion policies look more like Mississippi's that what the leftists in this country want but the dems feel they need to push it farther..
 

lucas80

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Ya, not unlike the dems voting to allow an abortion up to birth, that is murder for any sane person. Truthfully, left leaning Europe's abortion policies look more like Mississippi's that what the leftists in this country want but the dems feel they need to push it farther..
1. Not similar.
2. Not true.
3. You guys are getting your asses handed to you in Ukraine.
 
Mar 11, 2020
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Doesn't overturning Roe give the decision back to each individual state which would still allow them to make their own decision on allowing abortion?


Also, I have been very vocal that I believe rape victims and situations that impact the mothers survival should always be allowed. Florida published its abortion numbers and less than 5% were about rape, somwthing like 90% were done for financial reasons or other.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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Disastrous, probably not. Harder to serve as a woman, yes. And, that’s already hard enough. Also, it will never, ever end at abortion. You know that. Where are you putting your firewall?
Active duty women get their medical care and that of their infants paid for. Get 3 months maternity leave and can apply for discharge early, if they want, during the first year of the child’s life.

My oldest is taking the early discharge option.

Disastrous is WAY over stating things.
 

Titanhawk2

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Another effing corner case to impose some global requirement. You don't make rules or manage for the sake of the exceptions. But you sure as hell waste a lot of time on them.
 

SSG T

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Disastrous, probably not. Harder to serve as a woman, yes. And, that’s already hard enough. Also, it will never, ever end at abortion. You know that. Where are you putting your firewall?

It won't just affect women in the military, it will also affect every spouse, and some female children, of male service members.

And it's not just abortions. How about any states like Louisiana (Ft Polk) that are passing laws to investigate every miscarriage? Or who aren't making exceptions for ectopic pregnancies? That's going directly after military spouses.

And no, the GOP doesn't love the military, they like using the military as political pawns.
 

SSG T

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Active duty women get their medical care and that of their infants paid for. Get 3 months maternity leave and can apply for discharge early, if they want, during the first year of the child’s life.

My oldest is taking the early discharge option.

Disastrous is WAY over stating things.

And if they did everything they could to try to prevent pregnancy (yes even during marriage), get a deployment notice then find out they're pregnant? I know at least 3 people this happened to, they were on the pill and using other birth control...still got pregnant. 2 ended the pregnancies, 1 chose to have the child AFTER their deployment time frame was changed.

Yes, it be disastrous for some women in the military.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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And if they did everything they could to try to prevent pregnancy (yes even during marriage), get a deployment notice then find out they're pregnant? I know at least 3 people this happened to, they were on the pill and using other birth control...still got pregnant. 2 ended the pregnancies, 1 chose to have the child AFTER their deployment time frame was changed.

Yes, it be disastrous for some women in the military.
Some women….not the military writ large as the title indicates.
 
May 27, 2010
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It’s already a looming disaster for everyone’s constitutional rights in this country. Thinking that it won’t be equally disastrous for our active military personnel is just avoiding the subject and deliberately ignoring the real world fallout that will result from such a decision.
 
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B1GDeal

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Anyone care to state what would be an acceptable time frame cutoff for an abortion?

4 weeks?
8 weeks?
12 weeks?
16 weeks?
20 weeks?
24 weeks?
28 weeks?
 
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May 27, 2010
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Anyone care to state what would be an acceptable time frame cutoff for an abortion?

4 weeks?
8 weeks?
12 weeks?
16 weeks?
20 weeks?
24 weeks?
28 weeks?
Personally my opinion is it needs to be less than fetal viability which is about 24 weeks. I actually think 15-20 weeks is reasonable, but some will disagree. I think there should also be an allowance for the procedure beyond viability in certain circumstances.
 

cigaretteman

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Personally my opinion is it needs to be less than fetal viability which is about 24 weeks. I actually think 15-20 weeks is reasonable, but some will disagree. I think there should also be an allowance for the procedure beyond viability in certain circumstances.
To save the life of the mother for sure. No need for both of them to die.
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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Personally my opinion is it needs to be less than fetal viability which is about 24 weeks. I actually think 15-20 weeks is reasonable, but some will disagree. I think there should also be an allowance for the procedure beyond viability in certain circumstances.
Irony of all this is Roe may be overturned because of Mississippi’s proposed 15 week ban.

With this 6-3 majority maybe the pro abortion folks should have been reticent to bring a case against it.

Probably be another case down the line but buying time for another lib justice to perhaps be seated might have been smarter
 

NCHawk5

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Irony of all this is Roe may be overturned because of Mississippi’s proposed 15 week ban.

With this 6-3 majority maybe the pro abortion folks should have been reticent to bring a case against it.

Probably be another case down the line but buying time for another lib justice to perhaps be seated might have been smarter
Why is a federal limit of 20 weeks (unless danger to the mother is at play) off the table?

Any abortion performed after that isn’t a risk to the mother situation is considered murder.

Whats wrong with that option? Basically what Rs were pushing for anyway in their states from my understanding.
 

Coach_Fry

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Why is a federal limit of 20 weeks (unless danger to the mother is at play) off the table?
If you are a constitutionalist, a federal limit is off the table because the Constitution does not give the federal government the power to address this issue.
 
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NCHawk5

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If you are a constitutionalist, a federal limit is off the table because the Constitution does not give the federal government the power to address this issue.
How’s that? You mean assuming roe isn’t overturned?
 

soybean

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Personally my opinion is it needs to be less than fetal viability which is about 24 weeks. I actually think 15-20 weeks is reasonable, but some will disagree. I think there should also be an allowance for the procedure beyond viability in certain circumstances.
I'm in the 16-24 week camp. After that only the health of mother or baby.
 

Tom Paris

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Ya, not unlike the dems voting to allow an abortion up to birth, that is murder for any sane person. Truthfully, left leaning Europe's abortion policies look more like Mississippi's that what the leftists in this country want but the dems feel they need to push it farther..
This is bullshit. Go away.
 

BelemNole

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Active duty women get their medical care and that of their infants paid for. Get 3 months maternity leave and can apply for discharge early, if they want, during the first year of the child’s life.

My oldest is taking the early discharge option.

Disastrous is WAY over stating things.
So just have the rapist baby on the govt dime is your answer? You should run for congress.
 

BelemNole

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And if they did everything they could to try to prevent pregnancy (yes even during marriage), get a deployment notice then find out they're pregnant? I know at least 3 people this happened to, they were on the pill and using other birth control...still got pregnant. 2 ended the pregnancies, 1 chose to have the child AFTER their deployment time frame was changed.

Yes, it be disastrous for some women in the military.
Dumb liberal- you don’t know about how he military!
 
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binsfeldcyhawk2

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So just have the rapist baby on the govt dime is your answer? You should run for congress.
No. The point is I don’t think it’s going to be “disastrous” for the military. Even if Roe is overturned it’s only a problem if the state she’s stationed in bans it. If that’s the case she can be referred by her military doctor out of state to a state that allows it through tricare which is taken literally everywhere.

Just a hyperventilating click bate headline as per usual…
 

BelemNole

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No. The point is I don’t think it’s going to be “disastrous” for the military. Even if Roe is overturned it’s only a problem if the state she’s stationed in bans it. If that’s the case she can be referred by her military doctor out of state to a state that allows it through tricare which is taken literally everywhere.

Just a hyperventilating click bate headline as per usual…
So long as she can report the rape. So…~1/3 of current cases.
 

lucas80

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No. The point is I don’t think it’s going to be “disastrous” for the military. Even if Roe is overturned it’s only a problem if the state she’s stationed in bans it. If that’s the case she can be referred by her military doctor out of state to a state that allows it through tricare which is taken literally everywhere.

Just a hyperventilating click bate headline as per usual…
Uhh, many states are going to go after women who have an abortion in another state. That will be fun when a state attempts to chase down a servicewoman who leaves Oklahoma for care. Will the military doctor you spoke of be tracked down and punished, too? What about anyone up the chain of command who allowed the policy that results in an abortion to proceed?
Disastrous for the military, no. Harder for women to serve, yes. And, again, this isn't just about abortion. It will make serving less appealing.
 

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HR Heisman
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Uhh, many states are going to go after women who have an abortion in another state. That will be fun when a state attempts to chase down a servicewoman who leaves Oklahoma for care. Will the military doctor you spoke of be tracked down and punished, too? What about anyone up the chain of command who allowed the policy that results in an abortion to proceed?
Disastrous for the military, no. Harder for women to serve, yes. And, again, this isn't just about abortion. It will make serving less appealing.
Less Women in the United States Military? Sumbitch NO! Russia and China get wind of this the invasion can only be a matter of time! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
 

Keehawk

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Worth noting that a lot of people who want to end abortion are also very much in favor of women not being able to serve in the military. Well, girl jobs like nurses are fine.
The toothpaste is out of the tube for the GOP. Is Ron DeSantis going to arrest and prosecute a woman service member stationed in Florida who goes to another state to get an abortion? Missouri is angling that way. Oklahoma is angling that way. It's a full on race to be the most restrictive possible for the 2024 primaries.
Derp lol. This might be the dumbest thing you've ever posted. And that's saying something. Lol
 

abby97

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This is bullshit. Go away.
You forced me to show you the facts about Europe. Most countries in Europe have much shorter times lines that we have in the U.S. The Mississippi law would be longer than most countries in the EU.

The BBC have put together details on European time limits in this resource here. We have recently reviewed the time limits stated there to update changes in legislation and put them in the table below.
Country nameTime limit for most abortionsReferences
Austria12Penal Code (1974), sections 96-98: English / German
Belgium12Code Pénal (Penal Code), articles 348-360 (French)
Bulgaria12Decree No. 2 (1990) on the conditions and procedures for the artificial termination of pregnancy (English).
Croatia11Law No. 1252-1978 (1978), Act concerning the medical measures for materialisation of the right to freely decide on the birth of children (English) Note: This law is the same for Slovenia, as both were part of Yugoslavia when it was passed.
CyprusNo upper limit.Criminal Code of Cyprus (sections 167-169 and 169A) as amended by Law No 59 (1974) and Law No 186 (1986) (no retrievable and entirely up-to-date version online)
Czech Republic12Law 66 and Regulation 75 (1986) (English)
Czech Criminal Code, Sections 159-163
Denmark (Mainland)12Act No. 350 (1973), Section VII as amended by Law No. 389 (1995) and LBK No. 95 (2008).
Estonia11‘Termination of Pregnancy and Sterilisation Act’(1998) (Estonian)
Criminal Code of the Republic of Estonia, sections 125-128
Finland20Law 239 (‘Abortion Act’) (1970) as amended Law No 564 (1978), Law No 572 (1985), and Law No 328 (2001) (Finnish)
France12Loi No. 75-17 du 17 janvier 1975 relative à l’interruption volontaire de la grossesse (Law No. 75-17 of January 1975 Regarding Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy)(French)
Code Pénal (Penal Code) Articles 223-10 & 223-11 (French)
Code de la Santé Publique (Public Health Code) Articles L2222-1 to L2222-4, and L2223-1 to L2223-2 (French)
Germany22Strafgesetzbuch (Penal Code), sections 218-219 (English)
Greece12Law No 821 (1978), as amended by Law No 1609 (1986), and the Greek Criminal Code, Article 304 (no online access).
Hungary12Act LXXIX (1992) on ‘the Protection of the Life of the Fetus’ as amended by Act LXXXVII (2000)
Criminal Code (2012), Section 163
Ireland12Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018
Italy12Law 194 (1978) (Italian)
Latvia12Sexual and Reproductive Health Law (2002) (English)
Criminal Law of the Republic of Latvia, section 135-136
Lithuania12Decree of the Lithuanian Minister of Health (which replaced the former Soviet law) (Lithuanian)
Criminal Code of Lithuania, article 142
Luxembourg12Penal Code Articles 348-353, as amended by Law on sexual information, illegal abortion and termination of pregnancies (1978) (French)
MaltaNone: abortion is totally illegal.Criminal Code, Articles 241-243
Netherlands24 de factoCriminal Code, Articles 82a and 296 (Dutch)
Directions on the Non-Prosecution of Cases of Euthanasia and Late Abortions (2007) (Dutch)
Law on termination of pregnancy (1981): English/ Dutch
Poland12Act on Family Planning, Protection of the Human Fetus, and Conditions for Pregnancy Termination (1993), and Penal Code (1997) (English and Polish)
Portugal12Código Penal (Penal Code), Articles 140-142 (Portuguese)
Romania14Noul Cod Penal (Penal Code), Article 201 (2014) (Romanian)
Slovakia12Law 73 (1986), as amended by Law No 419/1991 (English)
See also Act No. 576/2004 Coll. of Laws on Health Care, Health Care-Related Services, and Amending and Supplementing Certain Acts as Amended by Act No. 345/2009.
Criminal Code of Slovakia, Articles 150-153
Further context (U.N.)
Slovenia11Law No. 1252-1978 (1978), Act concerning the medical measures for materialisation of the right to freely decide on the birth of children (English)Note: This law is the same for Croatia, as both were part of Yugoslavia when it was passed.
Spain14Ley 2/2010 Orgánica de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva y de la Interrupción Voluntaria del Embarazo(Organic Law 2/2010 on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy) (Spanish)
Sweden18Lag om abort (Abortlagen) (1974): (Swedish)
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Aardvark86

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There are plenty of perfectly good arguments - including actual legal arguments - for not overturning Roe. This isn't really one of them.
 

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