For the first time on Tuesday, a bipartisan conference committee agreed to include an amendment providing abortion coverage for military rape survivors in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).


Earlier this month, the Senate passed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)’s amendment, which would repeal a ban on insurance coverage for servicewomen who become pregnant from rape or incest. The bipartisan conference committee added the measure to the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2013 because it had not originally been included in the House's version of the bill.

“The inclusion of the Shaheen amendment is critical in providing servicewomen with the same health care coverage as that of the civilian federal employees that they fight to protect," Ms. Foundation for Women CEO Anika Rahman said in a statement. "The Ms. Foundation applauds this move, ending decades of discrimination against military victims of rape and incest.”

This vote is one of the last steps for including the provision in the final bill, which is likely to be passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by the president.

If passed, the Shaheen amendment would ensure that servicewomen receive the same insurance coverage as their civilian counterparts in federal government. Under current law, the Department of Defense is only allowed to pay for abortions if the life of the mother is threatened.

[Photo: U.S. Army]