Abortion services for women in the US military
U.S service women are often deployed in countries where abortion is illegal and U.S federal policy prohibits abortion services at medical treatment facilities. A new research paper described the provision of telemedical abortion services by Women on Web to women in the U.S military located overseas.
Most of the women were located in a countries where abortion is legally very restricted such as for example Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, South Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. One woman was at sea.
Many of the women describe fear of military reprimand, and potential career impacts.
Another woman wrote, “I am pregnant and need an abortion but am facing incredible challenges. I cannot leave base (we're 5 miles from Iraqi border) to get the procedure and cannot leave base for any other reason—no leave, no emergencies.”
One woman considered self-harm in the absence of other options, stating, “I was violated and I'm in the Army but because I did not tell at the time my story will not look right and I could face a lot of trouble. I am deployed to Afghanistan and I need an abortion but we are not able to get them here. I am so desperate I thought of hitting my stomach over and over till I miscarried.”
Twelve servicewomen who contacted Women on Web to obtain an abortion reported that their pregnancy occurred as a result of rape.