PICKING UP the TAB: The Pentagon Announces It Will Pay for Troops’ Abortion Travel Expenses

A memo by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released Thursday says that the Pentagon will pay travel expenses for troops who need abortions. This is part of the Defense Department initiative to “ensure access” to reproductive health care.

Austin wrote in his memo that the department must take all appropriate actions within its authority and in compliance with federal law as soon as possible so that Service members and their family can access reproductive health care, and health care providers can function effectively.

Austin ordered that the department establish travel and transportation allowances to Service members and their dependents as appropriate and consistent in applicable federal law and operational needs, and amend any applicable travel regulations as necessary, to facilitate official travel to access un-covered reproductive healthcare care that is not available within the immediate area of a Service member’s permanent duty station.

Austin wrote, “Since Supreme Court’s ruling, we have heard concerns by many of our Service personnel and their families regarding the complexity and uncertainty they now face when accessing reproductive health services, including abortion services.” “We recognize that recent developments could create legal and economic risk for our health-care providers as they fulfill their federal lawful duties.”

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