As a retired chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force, I am proud of my years of service. Yet the horror of my treatment when I was sexually assaulted by two instructors as a young airman multiplied the effects of the assault. For me, however, the reasons I served outweighed that trauma.
Our military has a long way to go when it comes to treating victims of sexual assault ("Abortion funding fight could complicate defense spending legislation," Web, Tuesday). Last week, the Senate Armed Services Committee took an important step when it voted for the Shaheen Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. I am particularly grateful to Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican (for whom I voted in the 2008 presidential election), and fellow Republicans Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts for putting our military before partisan politics in supporting this important measure.
The amendment would repeal a long-standing ban on insurance coverage for abortions for servicewomen who have been raped. This would bring military policy in line with other federal programs. It's a matter of basic fairness and decency.
I support the Shaheen Amendment because we need to be able to look our warriors in the eye and say, "I will take care of you." When we do not fully protect any one sector of our troops, we aren't doing our jobs. Our servicemen deserve no less.
It is not complicated and it in no way removes the pressure to stop sexual assault in the military. One is a matter of prevention and the other is a measure to afford victims fair and equitable coverage that other government employees and federal inmates already have.
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