Democratic Women’s Caucus and Pro-Choice Caucus Introduce Bill to Provide Servicemembers Abortion Access

WASHINGTON – Today, Democratic Women’s Caucus Whip Nikema Williams (GA-05) and Co-Chairs Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21), and Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Vice Chairs Congresswomen Veronica Escobar (TX-16) and Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Freshman Representative Sara Jacobs (CA-53), were joined by Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Congresswoman Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Pro-Choice Caucus members Jason Crow (CO-06) and Marilyn Strickland (WA-01), as well as 71 of their congressional colleagues in introducing the MARCH for Servicemembers Act. The legislation will allow military medical treatment facilities (MTF) to provide abortion services and for the military to cover associated costs. Senators Gillibrand, Shaheen, and Blumenthal will introduce companion legislation.

Congresswoman Williams said:

“Reproductive health care must be accessible to all, including our service members and their families. Covering abortion under TRICARE with the MARCH for Servicemembers Act will expand access to essential healthcare. I am proud to co-lead this bill with my fellow Democratic Women’s Caucus leaders and colleagues in the Pro-Choice Caucus. I will continue to fight for every person to have the right to make decisions about their health and families freely, regardless of their insurance status.”

Congresswoman Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee said:

“If Roe is overturned, abortion will quickly become illegal in 26 states. Women serving in the military experience unintended pregnancy rates 22 percent greater than civilians, and many are stationed in states that will overturn Roe. Many also don’t have the luxury of traveling off-base, thousands of miles and for days at a time, to pay out of pocket to receive the care they need and deserve. The fallout for our servicemembers and their families will be catastrophic, as is the threat to our military readiness, morale, and unit cohesion. Abortion care isn’t a privilege, it is standard health care essential to one’s ability to determine their own destiny. One in four women in America will have an abortion in her lifetime, and 59% of women who have abortions are already mothers. Our brave servicemembers deserve the same access to basic health care as the people they are fighting to protect.”

Rep. Lawrence said:

“It is completely unacceptable that our heroic women servicemembers face burdensome barriers when accessing an abortion. Every American, including our women in uniform, should have the full range of their reproductive health care. As the Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, I am grateful to work with my congressional colleagues to introduce this lifesaving legislation. Our servicemembers fight for our rights and freedoms every single day, and we should do the same for them.”

Rep. Lee said:

“With the Supreme Court seemingly poised to overturn Roe, it is up to Congress to create a nation  where abortion is not only recognized as a right but is also  affordable, and accessible. That access must include the brave Americans serving in our military, who have historically faced significant barriers to abortions—often having to travel thousands of miles off-base. It is critical that we remove abortion coverage bans, through my legislation the EACH Act and through this legislation, to improve access to safe and comprehensive reproductive care for our servicemembers.”

Congresswoman Frankel said:

“Those who serve our nation in the military stand up for our rights and freedoms. We must do the same for them. They should have full access to the health care they need, including abortion care.”

Congresswoman Escobar said:

“The very servicemembers who fight for our rights and freedoms abroad must not have their own stripped from them at home. I’m glad to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring The MARCH for Servicemembers Act to reform TRICARE and ensure every member of the military has access to abortion care. Abortion care is an essential and fundamental healthcare right, regardless of what state in which our servicemembers are stationed.”

Congresswoman Jacobs said:

“Reproductive rights cannot and should not end when you put on our nation’s uniform. Representing a proud military community in San Diego, I am committed to making sure our servicemembers have access to the care they need. I am proud to be a co-lead on The MARCH Act and to work with the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Pro-Choice Caucus to fight for abortion rights.”

Representative Crow said.

“The freedom to make our own healthcare decisions shouldn’t end when we enter the gates of a military base. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Speier and my colleagues to introduce the MARCH for Servicemembers Act, ensuring our servicemembers and their families have full autonomy in their family planning and healthcare decisions on our military bases.”

Rep. Strickland said:

“Servicemembers deserve universal access to health care, including reproductive care, regardless of where they are currently serving. As the Representative for thousands of military families in the South Sound, I’m proud to join the Democratic Women’s Caucus in introducing the MARCH for Servicemembers Act, which will ensure all servicemembers have access to reproductive health care. I urge House leadership to swiftly bring this bill up for a vote so that we fully support those who serve our nation.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee said:

“Our service members should have the constitutional right to reproductive health care, no matter where they are stationed. The MARCH Act will empower the Department of Defense to protect the constitutional right for service members to make the decisions they need to safeguard their health. Not only would this legislation remove outdated statutory bans that prevent access to reproductive care, but it would also facilitate the development of a healthy force with access to safe health services.”

The MARCH Act is supported by numerous reproductive rights, women’s rights and military servicemember organizations, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, National Women’s Law Center, Center for Reproductive Rights, Power to Decide, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), Service Women’s Action Network, VoteVets, Physicians for Reproductive Health, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Minority Veterans of America.

Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said:

“It’s unconscionable that people serving our country and defending our freedoms are being denied their reproductive freedom. Everyone, regardless of their income, zip code, or occupation, should have access to abortion — including military servicemembers. As some politicians continue to dismantle reproductive rights in states across the country, it is critical that Congress support our servicemembers and their ability to access to sexual and reproductive health care no matter where they are stationed. Abortion is health care, plain and simple. We thank the leadership of the Pro-Choice Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus for standing with our servicemembers and advocating for abortion access for all.”

The legislation is cosponsored by Reps. Lois Frankel (FL-22), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Sara Jacobs (CA-53), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Marilyn Strickland (WA-01), Jason Crow (CO-06), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Andre’ Carson (IN-07), Deborah K. Ross (NC-02), Katie Porter (CA-45), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), John Garamendi (CA-03), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Mark Takano (CA-41), Lori Trahan (MA-03), David Trone (MD-06), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Peter Welch (D-VT), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), Dina Titus (NV-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Judy Chu (CA-27), Steven Horsford (NV-04), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (IL-04), Grace Meng (NY-06), Anthony Brown (MD-04), Ed Case (HI-01), Andy Levin (MI-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Kim Schrier, M.D. (WA-08), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Sean Casten (IL-06), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Frank J. Mrvan (IN-01), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), John B. Larson (CT-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Melanie Stansbury (NM-01), Marie Newman (IL-03), Joseph D. Morelle (NY-25), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Derek Kilmer (WA-06), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04).

Click here for a copy of the bill text.

CONTACT: PressGA05@mail.house.gov

Congresswoman Nikema Williams proudly serves Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District. Congresswoman Williams serves on the exclusive Financial Services Committee where she is Vice Chair of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Select Committee for the Modernization of Congress. She is Freshman Class President and Co-Chairs the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus. Congresswoman Williams builds on the Fifth District’s legacy as the cradle of the civil rights movement as a champion of voting rights, closing the racial wealth gap, and ensuring the promise of America for all–regardless of their ZIP code or bank account.

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