The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that the military will continue to perform abortions in states that have exercised their “trigger laws” to either ban or severely restrict the procedure.
Gilbert Cisneros, the defense undersecretary for personnel, said in a June 28 memo that they are aiming to give soldiers the same benefits regardless of where they are stationed. Legal experts have cast doubt over whether this policy would hold up in a Republican administration.
“The Supreme Court’s decision does not prohibit the department from continuing to perform covered abortions, consistent with federal law,” the memo says. “There will be no interruption to this care.”
“The Supreme Court’s 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 said. “Health care providers will continue to follow existing departmental policy, and the leadership of military medical treatment facilities will implement measures to ensure continued access to care.”
If a state were to attempt to prosecute a serving military member or civilian employee, the Defense Department would liaise with the Department of Justice to ensure that they are provided with legal representation.
“It is the Department of Justice’s longstanding position that states generally may not impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who perform their duties in a manner authorized by federal law,” the memo reads. “We will work with the Department of Justice to ensure access to counsel for such civilian employees and Service members if needed and as appropriate.”
Shortly after the court’s decision was handed down, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Friday: “Nothing is more important to me or to this department than the health and well-being of our service members, the civilian workforce, and DOD families. I am committed to taking care of our people and ensuring the readiness and resilience of our force.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WASHINGTON POST
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