America’s armed forces are the standard bearer for American values and principles around the world, and those who serve reflect the nation’s rich diversity of thought, background, and experiences. This diversity goes to the military the world’s most powerful and most lethal fighting force.
Restrictive Abortion Laws
The raising the right hands and putting on the uniform, a shared love of country brought people from all backgrounds together. In Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans fought alongside service members from every race, gender, and political affiliation.
AirForce Times reported that some politicians have not only begun to disparage our service members and undermine our top military leaders, but they’ve also positioned their crosshairs on some of the exact service members we fought beside and to whom we all owe a tremendous debt.
When the U.S. Supreme Court published its ruling last year in Dobbs v. Jackson, overturning Roe v. Wade, thousands of women in service were stripped of access to abortion health care. In the year since, 14 states have made abortion illegal, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Here’s Why These Restrictive Laws Threaten Our National Security
When people decide to serve, they an oath to the nation and go to boot camp, get trained on their job, and go where the nation needs you. Moreover, you usually don’t have a choice about where you go to serve that’s part of the deal that you oath.
More than 230,000 women and 14,000 LGBTQ+ people serve in our armed forces today, meaning thousands of active duty service members stationed in states with restrictive laws are feeling the brunt of extreme politicians’ efforts to limit freedoms. Accomplished service members are separated from service early after being assigned to a duty station where they and their dependents cannot access the healthcare they need.
In the aftermath of the Dobbs v. Jackson determination, then-Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gil Cisneros testified to Congress that, “some servicemembers may pick to leave the military altogether because they may be stationed in states with restrictive reproductive health laws.”
Roughly three-quarters of young individuals consider abortion to be legal. Reason why, recruitment numbers increase prospective service members’ fear of being stationed in an area where they’ll be treated like second-class citizens.
Personnel is the most significant aspect of readiness. As recruitment and retention persist to fall, so does the military’s ability to meet the force requirements necessary to respond to any danger. Service members should be able to focus solely on their mission, not be forced to worry about whether they or their loved ones at home can access the health care they need.
Thankfully, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and the Department of Defense acted in the best interest of our national security by protecting access to health care including reproductive care for service members and their families, regardless of where they’re stationed. This decision wasn’t driven by politics or the loudest voice but by a conscious and strategic action to ensure our military maintains its standing as the world’s strongest and most lethal fighting force.