Should Congress lift abortion ban for Peace Corps volunteers?

 

A Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. (Courtesy of Peace Corps). A Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. (Peace Corps)

Women’s groups, the White House and certain lawmakers are pushing to lift the federal ban on government-funded abortions for Peace Corps volunteers who become pregnant as a result of rape, according to a Washington Post article by Lisa Rein.

Peace Corps rape victims have to pay for abortion themselves because the government refuses to cover the cost, due to a rider that Congress placed in the agency’s annual appropriation in 1979.

Opponents of the ban are trying to change the policy, emboldened by recent scrutiny from Congress of sexual assaults in the humanitarian organization and the growing number of volunteers who have gone public with their experiences.

President Obama’s 2014 budget request and an expected bill from Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would provide abortion coverage in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s health is endangered.

For more on this story, see Rein’s article.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

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