Pentagon will KEEP performing some abortions on bases – even if they are in states with a total ban


Pentagon will KEEP performing abortions on bases that are ‘consistent with federal law’ – even if they are in states with a total ban

  • Medical centers on military bases are federal facilities and won’t change how they operate under the new ruling, according to the Pentagon
  • Federal law stipulates that military facilities offer abortions in cases where the life of the mother is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest
  • It prohibits the Defense Department (DOD) from paying for or offering other types of abortion
  •  States ‘may not impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law,’ a DOD memo said
  • The Pentagon performed 91 abortions at its facilities from 2016 to 2021, according to an internal report 

The Pentagon said Tuesday it will continue offering limited abortions to female service members and dependents at its facilities, regardless of how state law changes after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

Gil Cisneros, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said that medical centers on military bases are federal facilities and won’t change how they operate under the new ruling. Federal law stipulates that military facilities offer abortions in cases where the life of the mother is endangered or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. It prohibits the Defense Department (DOD) from paying for or offering other types of abortion. 

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 decision on Friday to over turn Roe, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion pre-viability, at around 20 weeks.  

The Pentagon said Tuesday it will continue offering limited abortions to female service members and dependents at its facilities, regardless of how state law changes after the overturning of Roe v. Wade

The Pentagon said Tuesday it will continue offering limited abortions to female service members and dependents at its facilities, regardless of how state law changes after the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Pro-life protesters celebrate the overturning of Roe outside the Supreme Court

Pro-life protesters celebrate the overturning of Roe outside the Supreme Court 

Without Roe, a number of states have said they will ban abortions even in the case of rape or incest. States like Alabama and Arkansas have laws that were blocked by courts until the Dobbs decision that do not include exceptions. After Dobbs, those laws are likely to take effect. Florida bans abortions after 15 weeks with no exceptions and states like Louisiana and Texas have trigger laws that are soon to take effect implementing a near-total ban on abortions, including for rape or incest.

All state abortion bans include some sort of exemption for when the life of the mother is threatened. 

‘The Supreme Court decision does not prohibit the department from continuing to perform covered abortions, consistent with federal law. There will be no interruption to this care,’ Cisneros’ memo read. 

States ‘may not impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law,’ the memo said. 

The Pentagon performed 91 abortions at its facilities from 2016 to 2021, according to an internal report obtained by USA Today. 

A large group of abortion rights supporters protest at the Mississippi Capitol, in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, June 28

A large group of abortion rights supporters protest at the Mississippi Capitol, in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, June 28

Cisneros added in the memo that the court’s decision ‘will have significant implications for our Service members, dependents, other beneficiaries of DoD health care services, and civilian employees, as well as the readiness of the Force.’ 

The memo said that service members will still be able to use paid sick leave to travel to another state to obtain an abortion.  

Meanwhile Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra on Tuesday directed federal agencies to ensure that all women have access to medication abortions in the case of rape or incest. 

The secretary told reporters that federal law requires HHS programs grant abortion pills in exceptional circumstances, including rape or incest or when the mother’s life is at risk. 

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