Here’s an example that I had no reason not to know about and yet it wasn’t until someone pointed it out to me. This was in the local paper the other day.
MG Donna Barbisch (Rtd.) wrote a very sober and modest opinion piece that pointed out that military women who get pregnant by rape are not able to get abortions through the military medical system. I know all the justifications for this, and they are all unacceptable and self-serving and dishonest.
For those who don’t get the scope of the problem, let me lay out a few facts. Military members on active duty must use the military medical system. The first is that the military medical system is the only provision the military makes for service members’ health care – there is no choose a health plan and then go find a doctor you like. Second, even stateside there are strict restrictions on using civilian medical care because the service views your body and your health as their asset and doesn’t want either exposed to treatments they don’t control, so that even if you are willing to spend your own money, it is prohibited. Third, this military care is something the military and the nation owe to service members. It is our obligation them.
So this situation is disgusting.
Two things stand out immediately about the article. The first is the very narrow scope of what the general is asking for. She is only asking for abortion coverage in cases of rape, and she bases this only on coverage already afforded civilian federal employees. That is almost scathingly modest, basically an accusation of depraved dismissal of what these service members are owed in basic support of the force.
The second thing that stands out almost as an accusation is her moderate tone. She argues in very clear and detailed arguments why military women need this coverage, why they are entitled to it, and then goes on to justify this by citing the debt we owe our sldiers, etc., etc…… basically coming down to the plain old ingratitude of the American people towards soldiers in imposing this ban on abortions for rape victims, when to me the only sensible response to this kind of ingratitude and misogyny is a………much less nuanced.
How bad has it gotten when an officer is reduced to this pleading tone? It reminds me of pleas I remember from childhood against segregation. The tone tells you what kind of mad dogs the writer has to placate.
How did this absurd situation even come into being? Certainly an abortion ban, even a general one, was NOT put in place to promote military readiness, since in fact it decreases readiness to have soldiers pregnant or tied down with an infant at home. You would expect the military to be pushing birth control and encouraging abortions when that failed simply as an organizational policy if readiness were the overriding consideration.
Well, we all know where this comes from. This comes from exactly the same place the anti-gay policies and even the supposed mitigation, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, come from – the insistence of some civilians to make the military dance to their religious tune. This has nothing to do with civilian control of the military – civilian control of declaring and ending wars, civilian control of funding, civilian control over appointment of officers – do you see anywhere in this where a civilian has any interest in a soldier’s abortion or in a soldier’s sex life or life partnership? This is not a new attitude at all; this is why when COL Beckworth opened a whorehouse for his troops because he got tired of the STD rate in his units, it was considered very daring, even during Vietnam.
I have news for these people. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are not your property. You are not the customer who gets whatever she wants because the customer is always right. Don’t make your religion into public policy and we won’t make a public issue out of your religion.
Oh, and generally in matters of abortion, I think the father should have some say into what happens to what is after all his child. Not here. Rapists have no say, not fathers who are fathers because of rape or mothers who got pregnant by raping a man and who are expecting child support to raise children they should never have custody of. That’s what I think of the rapist’s rights in this.
MG Barbisch goes on to say that there is a legislative fix for this embarrassment coming together. Good.
This whole mess comes down to two things: failure to respect military people as fellow citizens and broken trust. Both are immoral.
- The Woman Card - May 2, 2016
- Frat boy bachelorettes and the invasion of gay bars - April 15, 2016
- “Not my kid….” - February 22, 2016