House Dems Draft Defense Funding Bill That Prevents Pentagon From Denying Abortion Leave
US Army soldiers attend the opening ceremony of the Resolute Castle 22 NATO exercise, with participating forces from Romania, US and UK, at the Getica National Joint Training Center in Cincu, Romania, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022.
Andrei Pungovschi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Defense could be banned from denying service members and civilian employees leave to obtain an abortion, according to a proposed defense appropriations bill draft by House Democrats.

The House Appropriations Committee shared the proposal on Tuesday in a draft that includes more than $760 billion in defense funding.

The bill, if approved as proposed, “Prohibits funds for denying leave to servicemembers or civilians requesting leave to obtain an abortion.”

Regarding abortion services for military personnel, current provisions are limited.

“The military is already limited in its ability to provide abortions under the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from being used for most abortions,” The Hill reported. “Tricare, the military’s health care program, only covers abortions if a pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or if the pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk.”

The text of the proposed change also includes the ability for those supporting a person obtaining an abortion to request leave. It includes personnel or a civilian employee “who is the spouse, partner, or significant other of a pregnant individual and requests leave to assist that individual in obtaining an abortion.”

The provision is interestingly included in the final page of text in the current 142-page draft.

The action is part of $38.05 billion for the Department of Defense’s medical and health care programs.

The Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Funding Bill funds agencies and programs in the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community, including the Services, Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, according to a press release from the House Appropriations Committee.

The latest draft includes a military budget increase of more than $32 billion over the previous year.

Another major line item proposed in the budget includes “critical security assistance to Ukraine with resources for training, equipment, weapons, supplies and services, salaries and stipends, and intelligence support to the Ukrainian military and national security forces.”

Among the other controversial aspects included in the proposed budget is to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

The abortion-related proposal also comes as the Supreme Court is expected to soon release a ruling in a Mississippi case that could upend the precedent of Roe v. Wade and return decisions regarding abortion laws to individual states.

It is uncertain how the case would apply to military members.

A bill was proposed earlier this month by 81 House Democrats to fund or provide abortions for military members.

“The fallout for our service members and their families will be catastrophic, as is the threat to our military readiness, morale and unit cohesion,” California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel subcommittee, said in a statement. “Our brave service members deserve the same access to basic health care as the people they are fighting to protect.”

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