Roe’s reversal has ‘significant implications’ for the Department of Defense, but will not affect access to healthcare for covered abortions


The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will have “significant implications” for the Defense Department, the Pentagon said Tuesday, but service members and other Defense Department health care recipients will continue to have access to health care for covered abortions.

The decision will affect the readiness of the force, as well as an effect on service members, their families and Department of Defense civilians, said Gilbert Cisneros, undersecretary of defense for personnel and state. preparation, in a memo.

Cisneros said the military health care network would continue to perform covered abortions. The abortions covered are those in which the life of the mother is in danger if the fetus has been carried to term or if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.

“There will be no interruption to this care,” Cisneros wrote. Health care providers will follow existing Department of Defense policy and military medical facilities will take steps to ensure continued access to care.

It’s unclear what steps will need to be taken, especially in states whose laws prohibit abortions in cases otherwise permitted for Department of Defense facilities.

The Supreme Court’s decision also won’t affect Department of Defense furlough policies, Cisneros said.

Active duty service members are still permitted to travel to receive abortion care, either for government-paid covered abortion or as part of the service member’s personal leave. Department of Defense civilian employees may also use sick leave and other forms of leave to meet their medical needs.

“Sick leave can be used to cover travel necessary to obtain any type of medical treatment,” Cisneros said in the memo.

Promising more guidance if needed, Cisneros said, “The implications of the Supreme Court’s decision are complicated and must be weighed against various state laws, as well as the views of the Department of Justice.”


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