Stand with Servicewomen

Every Hanukkah, we light candles in the same way. We say the same blessings, we sing the same songs, and we eat the same foods. But every year, we bring to this ritual a slightly changed perspective. We are one year older, and have had one more year of experiences to inform how we view this holiday.

In the same way, it might seem to some of our more avid readers that parts of our blog are a bit like a broken record. Yes, we are still fighting for poverty reduction. No, we have not solved climate change. But with every time we write, with every post we release, we have that slightly changed and more informed perspective. We have that new sense of urgency, or that recent startling report.

So though it might seem like this is just one more in a series of blogs about health insurance and abortion access for military women, this time we have news. News that could potentially change the conversation and finally provide our servicewomen with the health care services they need and deserve.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is passed every year, and it sets policy for the Defense Department by authorizing programs and suggesting funding levels. This year, the Senate’s version of the NDAA includes a section known as the Shaheen Amendment, which would close the existing loophole that prevents women who receive their health insurance through the military from accessing abortion in cases of rape or incest. The House version of the bill does not contain a comparable amendment, so it remains to be seen whether or not this provision will make it through this week’s conference committee. If it does not, the health care systems of our servicewomen and their dependents will remain unequal and unjust. Leaders from across the country and across the aisle – including General Colin Powell – support this step toward a more fair and inclusive health insurance system.

This Hanukkah, as we light our candles, let us remember one of the ideas behind this tradition: that we are bringing light into an otherwise dark world. Let us continue the fight for justice begun by our Maccabean ancestors, and work to protect those who work to protect us.

Image originally found here.

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About Sarah Krinsky

Sarah Krinsky is an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. She is from Los Angeles, CA and graduated from Yale University in May 2012.

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