What Is the March Act?

The Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health for Military Women Act (MARCH for Military Women Act)—introduced in the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and in the House by Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY)—will fix two serious inequities facing women in the military in need of abortion care.

First, the MARCH Act will extend federal health insurance coverage for abortion care to servicewomen who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Today, this coverage is only available for abortion care in cases of life endangerment; servicewomen seeking abortion care after rape or incest must pay out-of-pocket for care at a military facility.

Second, the MARCH Act will lift the current ban on providing abortion care at military facilities. Current law [link to Learn more section] forbids military hospitals from providing abortion care except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment—even if the woman pays with their own funds.

These two policies significantly burden servicewomen around the world who rely on military hospitals for their health care services. The MARCH Act will fix this inequality and ensure that all servicewomen have access to the same reproductive health care as their civilian counterparts.

The Department of Defense came out in support of the MARCH Act in late 2011.