It is no secret that throughout history the military and militant organizations such as law enforcement have been “good old boys’ clubs.” Women are forced to prove themselves, offering irrefutable proof that they are “equal to men.” So when I read a story yesterday about proposed actions by the Pentagon focused on protecting women’s rights, I was amazed and confused.
Women’s Rights in the Military
Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, issued a memo stating that the Pentagon will pay for the travel expenses of women in the military seeking an abortion, and residing in states which ban the procedure.
“Our Service members and their families are often required to travel or move to meet our staffing, operational, and training requirements. Such moves should not limit their access to reproductive health care,” Austin wrote.
The “practical effects of recent changes” will ultimately hurt military readiness, Austin wrote, referring to the Supreme Court’s June decision to strike down Roe v. Wade.
Logic and Common Sense in the Military?
I have a question: “When did logic and common sense become part of the military’s standard operation procedure?”
Suffice it to say that I am very pleased. Women have been treated as third-class citizens in this country for as long as I can remember, and my memory is 76 years old. I was in the USAF in the mid-1960s and I saw firsthand how women were viewed in the military by their male counterparts. I am thrilled to read that a Secretary of Defense has taken the position of protecting women’s rights to care for her own mental and physical health.
Military Law Inspired Secretary Austin to Protect the Rights of Women in Service
A federal policy known as the Hyde Amendment already prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk. According to a report to Congress earlier this year, 91 abortions were performed at U.S. military hospitals between 2016 and 2021.
Therefore, it is necessary for female personnel to travel to a civilian site to terminate an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy.
America Must Learn from our Past, Not Return to the Dark Days
The American people must remember the dark days of our past. They must not be repeated. One of the darkest in modern times was June 24, 2022. On that day six members of the most biased, politicized Supreme Court in history removed the right of women to protect and care for their own bodies. This “stacked Court,” created by Trump and Moscow Mitch McConnell, reversed a decision by a qualified and respected Court 49 years in the past. This singular act moved our nation backward into the dismal and prejudiced days of the 1950s.
What all Americans should have done is ask themselves and our government one question: “Why have women been denied full equality in the United States for 246 years?” Historians write tales of ‘heroic’ men, and a few inform us of the greatness, courage, and determination of women to do the right thing every time. However, equality in every situation, or more importantly the lack of equality, is never discussed.
Women Seek Full Equality and Nothing More
I know of no woman who seeks superiority over men, but I have known thousands who are willing to fight for equal rights in every situation. In 2022 women continue to dominate the population. There are more women registered to vote than men. Just a few years ago, more women were registering for enrollment in our colleges and universities than men. Since 2018 more women have filed their intentions to run for public office than men in local, state, and federal offices. These women are no longer asking for equality: they are taking it for themselves.
By James Turnage, Novelist
NPR: The Pentagon will pay for service members to travel for abortions
Politico: Pentagon will pay for service members to travel for abortions
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