Bill would OK military abortions for rape

June 16, 2011 at 2:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- U.S. military healthcare should cover abortions in cases of rape, says a woman who claims her Army career was ruined after she was raped and got pregnant.

"It's a disgrace, especially when it comes to rape and sexual assault, that this option is not available," Jessica Kenyon, 30, who left the military in 2006 and now works with victims of military sexual abuse, told ABC News.

She says she was raped by a fellow soldier while serving in South Korea and was denied an abortion at a military hospital there. Instead, the Army said she could go to a private hospital or go home, she said.

Kenyon chose to go home. Her pregnancy ended in a miscarriage on the plane back to the United States, she told ABC.

She and abortion-rights groups claim military rape and incest victims should be entitled to the same federal funds for abortion services that U.S. prisoners, Medicaid recipients and other government-healthcare beneficiaries get.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced a Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health bill Thursday. A similar bill was introduced in the House last week.

The department reported 3,158 sexual assaults among service members last year, up 11 percent overall from 2009 and up 16 percent in war zones.

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