Opinion | Our military members need access to all health care – The Washington Post

Though Allison Gill was correct in her May 19 op-ed, “Overturning Roe would be disastrous for the U.S. military,” that the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act was not passed last year, last year’s National Defense Authorization Act included my bipartisan provision to remove cases of sexual assault, murder, stalking, kidnapping, domestic violence and other special victim offenses from the chain of command. These provisions achieved the most historic and sweeping military justice reforms since the creation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in 1950 and will ensure that prosecutorial decisions will be made by an independent military attorney outside of the victim’s and assailant’s chain of command. Independent special trial counsels will be under civilian control, reporting to the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy.
I agree with Ms. Gill wholeheartedly that the lack of protections for service members when it comes to access to abortion would be inhumane. And it won’t stop at abortion. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and chair of the military personnel subcommittee, I have tried for years to expand access to contraception for our service members and their dependents. They deserve the same access to prescriptions and health-care services as those available to civilians through the Affordable Care Act. If we can ask women to put their lives on the line in defense of country, there is no logical or ethical reason they should not benefit from the same rights enjoyed by those they serve to protect. As Ms. Gill so eloquently noted, we must find a way to ensure they have the freedom to decide.
Jackie Speier, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents California’s 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.


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