By Brittany Oliver, ACLU of Maryland
The ACLU of Maryland, Maryland NOW, Planned Parenthood of Maryland, Baltimore Chapter of the Younger Women's Task Force, Maryland Women Law Center, Naral Pro-Choice Maryland and other groups have sent a letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski in strong support of the Peace Corps Equity Act, a provision to enable insurance coverage of abortion for volunteers in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment - the same level of coverage provided to other women in federal service.
Given Senator Mikulski's position as the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, we are asking for her support of the provision in the State and Foreign Operations funding bill. While the House adopted an amendment adding the Peace Corps provision during committee markup, that is not the final step.
Since the Peace Corps was established in 1961, over 5,700 Marylanders have volunteered and 199 currently serve our country with the Corps. Women make up more than 60 percent of those volunteers, and although they have given their time and energy to help communities in developing countries, their basic reproductive rights are under attack.
This coverage needs to be included in the final spending bill so that Peace Corps volunteers are able to receive basic reproductive health coverage as other women in the federal service.
Restricting comprehensive insurance coverage is not only unfair, but it does not show our appreciation for their service. With our state's long history of protecting women's reproductive rights, we can do better.
Read our letter.
View and download our factsheet on Peace Corps Abortion Coverage.
Learn more about the ACLU's work on reproductive justice.