Abortion Coverage for Peace Corps Volunteers, at Last

| Dec 16, 2014

The funding bill Congress passed last weekend lifts the terribly unfair ban on coverage for abortion services for Peace Corps volunteers who survive rape or incest, or whose lives would be jeopardized by continuing a pregnancy. Now that President Obama has signed the law, women who serve their country in the Peace Corps finally have the same abortion coverage as other women who get their health insurance through the federal government.

In 2013, I blogged about how outrageous it was that a woman who worked for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., had insurance that included coverage for abortion services in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment, like every other federal employee — but a woman who volunteered for the Peace Corps overseas did not.

It took a lot of work, and more time than it should have, but we finally put an end to that injustice.

We thank every member of Congress who fought for this measure, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (N.Y.), who championed this change in policy. And we applaud all those who rejected anti-choice extremism by voting for it.

Three in five Peace Corps volunteers are women and we are delighted that they finally have the same basic coverage as other women who rely on the government for their insurance coverage.

This is an important step forward, but we won’t rest until all women have access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion care beyond the limited circumstances of rape, incest and life endangerment. The country needs — and women deserve – many more victories like the one last weekend.