Pentagon To Pay Service Members' Travel Costs for Abortions

Lloyd Austin (Getty Images)
October 20, 2022

The Pentagon will pay for the travel costs of service members who obtain abortions, according to a memo from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin obtained by Politico.

"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 said Thursday in the memo, which directed the Defense Department to provide travel allowances to service members and their family members seeking access to abortions.

The move comes after Austin in June vowed, following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, to protect service members' access to abortions.

Austin said in the Thursday memo that the abortion travel allowances are needed to address the harm the Supreme Court's decision inflicted on the military's "ability to recruit, retain, and maintain the readiness of a highly qualified force."

Austin also ordered the Defense Department to establish a program supporting health care providers in the department who face state penalties for providing abortions.