Defense Department to Provide Travel, Paid Leave for Abortions

Service members of the Department of Defense (DOD) may be granted paid leave and travel to end their pregnancy. The new policy begins next month and gives members up to 20 weeks gestation to have an abortion. The policy notes that individuals seeking “non-covered reproductive health care services” may receive 21 days of paid leave. “Non-covered reproductive health care includes non-covered abortion and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which includes, but is not limited to, egg retrieval, IUI, and IVF,” according to the policy.

From The Epoch Times:

The new policy follows an Oct. 20 memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directing the department to create a policy that “allows for appropriate administrative absence” for the non-covered services and “establish travel and transportation allowances for service members and their dependents.”

In issuing the directive, Austin held that the Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022 ruling that abortion is not a constitutional right had “impacted access to reproductive health care with readiness, recruiting, and retention implications” for the military.

“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,” he wrote at the time.