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Pentagon Will Pay Travel Costs for Troops and Their Family Members Who Seek Abortions in Other States

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin awaits the arrival of Estonia's Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Pentagon announced Thursday it will provide travel funding and support for troops and their family members who seek abortions – even if they are assigned to states where the procedure is now illegal. 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's order outlines the rights and protections service members and their dependents will have regardless of where they are stationed. 

The new military policy sets guidelines so that local commanders aren't allowed to influence whether service members get access or face a culture where they or their dependents do not come forward out of fear of repercussions. The military will also increase privacy protections for those seeking care.  

Under federal law, the Pentagon's health care system can provide abortions only in cases of rape or incest or when a mother's life is in danger. That doesn't change under the new policy. The funds the military would provide service members would cover transportation only; they would not pay for abortion services that are not covered by federal law.

Austin directed the services to implement the new policy by the end of this calendar year.

The defense secretary's order comes as President Joe Biden and other Democrats on the campaign trail continue to try to make abortion one of the central issues of the midterm elections in an effort to energize voters. However, a closer look at current pre-election polls paints a different picture.

The latest New York Times/Sienna poll shows only 5 percent of voters listed abortion as the biggest problem facing the country.

With rising inflation and the stock market steadily falling, likely voters said the economy was their most important concern among the issues facing the country and a poll of registered voters showed most see the economy as getting worse.

Since July, the economy as an important issue has jumped from 36 percent to 44 percent, higher than any other concern, the poll said.  

As CBN News reported Tuesday, Biden is continuing to try to influence the midterms by using abortion rights as a moral issue to bolster Democrat candidates.

The president announced his intention at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) event in downtown Washington, D.C. to enshrine abortion into law next year if Democrats win control of Congress.

"The first bill that I will send to Congress will be to codify Roe v. Wade," he said. "When Congress passes it, I'll sign it in January, marking 50 years after Roe was decided the law of the land."

In a forum with NowThis News, Biden said he would support a federal fund to reimburse some costs for those who have to travel for the procedure.

"I do support that, and I've publicly urged companies to do that," he said. "I've urged them publicly as president of the United States saying, 'This is what you should be doing.'''

As CBN News reported last June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the unconstitutional "abortion rights" that were invented by the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. The ruling came in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

States are now free to decide whether to allow any restrictions or expansion of abortion. The procedure has been banned or sharply restricted in more than a dozen states.

The new Pentagon guidelines also direct each military base to publicly display what reproductive health care support is available for service members and their dependents. 

The guidelines also extend the time in which a service member must report a pregnancy to commanders to 20 weeks and provide additional protections for defense health care providers who furnish abortion services.

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Have you have had an abortion, are contemplating ending your pregnancy, or would like pregnancy-related resources, please click here.

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