Jan 152015
 

Active duty female personnel make up nearly 15% of our current armed forces, or about 200,000 of our 1.4 million servicemembers. Even before the ban prohibiting women from participating in combat was lifted, many female troops had experienced combat. Unfortunately, many of these Americans have also experienced the ugly specter of military sexual assault (MSA) committed by fellow servicemembers. It is estimated nearly one of every three female military personnel has been sexually assaulted, compared with an average of one of every six female civilians. In 2012, nearly 3,400 MSAs were reported by servicemembers. However, about 85% of all MSAs are not reported and our Pentagon estimates there were actually 26,000 sexual assaults, or about 71 per day during that year. Although men are also sexually assaulted in the military, most of the victims of MSA are female junior enlists under the age of 25. The vast majority of perpetrators are older, generally higher-ranking males under the age of 35. Advocates claim these crimes undermine the morale and cohesion of our military units. They also say many convicted offenders go unpunished because superiors often overturn their convictions. The Obama administration has enacted new rules to fight this scourge. One rule would expand the role victims have in court-martial and sentencing processes. Another would require all MSA reports submitted by victims who wish to press charges against the offender be immediately brought to the attention of the first general or admiral in the chain of command of that organization. Critics say these rules do not go far enough to ensure military sexual assaults will no longer occur.

Pending Legislation:

S.1032 & H.R.2207 – Better Enforcement for Sexual Assault Free Environments Act

S.1092 & H.R.1864 – A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to require an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault.

I oppose reforming current military sexual assault policy and wish to defeat S.1032 & H.R.2207 and S.1092 & H.R.1864

I support prohibiting judges from setting aside military sexual assault (MSA) charges or verdicts without explanation; requiring mandatory discharge or dismissal for MSA offenses and consideration of temporary leave or reassignment of an active duty servicemember accused of MSA; briefing commanders of non-confidential MSA reports; making counsel available for victims of MSA, and wish to pass S.1032 & H.R.2207

I support requiring an Inspector General investigation of allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken in response to making protected communications regarding sexual assault, and wish to pass S.1092 & H.R.1864

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Women serving in our military face unique personal challenges that most of their male counterparts do not. These challenges include healthcare that is inadequately tailored to women, balancing family life with a military career, and high rates of sexual harassment and assault. Retiring female soldiers cite “the amount of time separated from family” as the most important reason for leaving the military. Military life takes a great toll on the marriages of our servicewomen. The marriages of female troops fail at a rate three times that of male troops. Military service is also associated with unique risks to women’s reproductive health. Advocates say female troops deployed to war zones often lack the access to female-specific medical services and sanitary equipment, increasing the difficulty of hygienic management of menstruation. This may predispose these soldiers to a greater risk of gynecologic conditions such as urinary tract infections. Deployment may also interrupt a woman’s preventive cancer care. The rate of abnormal Pap test results may be elevated among women who are deployed to war zones. Timely access to appropriate cervical cancer screening is critical for all women. Studies of pregnant veterans have showed that hormonal and physiological changes associated with pregnancy may bring out or worsen conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder or depression. Experts also say that settling back into a typical civilian routine after experiencing combat can be very difficult –for women as well as men. The suicide rate of female veterans is three times higher than it is for civilian women. Many of these tragedies occurred after these women warriors had already returned home safely.

Pending Legislation:

S.131 & H.R.958- Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013

H.R.288 – CHAMPVA Children’s Protection Act of 2013

S.777 & H.R.1389 – MARCH for Military Women Act

I oppose reforming current military women’s health policy and wish to defeat S.131 & H.R.958, H.R.288, and S.777 & H.R. 1389

I support improving reproductive assistance to veterans and their spouses, including fertility counseling and treatment and the use of assisted reproductive technology, to a spouse or surrogate of a severely wounded, ill, or injured veteran who has an infertility condition incurred or aggravated in the line of duty and who is enrolled in the VA health care system; authorizing the Secretary to pay to any such veteran an amount to assist in the adoption of one or more children; revising a pilot program of group retreat reintegration and readjustment counseling for women veterans recently separated from service to: increase from at least 3 to at least 14 the number of locations for such counseling, and extend the pilot program for an additional 2 years, and wish to pass S.131 & H.R.958

I support increasing, from 23 to 26, the maximum age of eligibility for dependent children of veterans for medical care under CHAMPVA (the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs), and wish to pass H.R.288

I support repealing a statutory restriction on using a medical treatment facility or other facility of the Department of Defense to perform an abortion, and wish to pass S.777 & H.R.1389

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill mandating comprehensive female-specific healthcare services for all female military personnel

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Our Defense Department has recently lifted its ban against women participating in combat. This ban prohibited women from joining infantry and tank units as well as special operations forces. But no longer is this the case, as American military women now perform all the tasks their male counterparts do. These tasks include operating radios, driving trucks, providing medical care and security, disposing of bombs and fighting the enemy. In reality however, women have frequently found themselves in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 150 female personnel have been killed and more than 850 wounded on these battlefields since 9/11. Women have long opposed combat restrictions and have pressured the Pentagon to catch up with the reality on the ground. Army Ranger Battalions and Navy SEAL units plan to integrate women by 2016. There have been 10 female candidates that have volunteered for these units. One female soldier completed the Combat Endurance Test but was released a week later due to other training-related injuries. The male attrition rate of our special-forces training programs averages about 70%.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.747 – To amend the Military Selective Service Act to require the registration of women with the Selective Service System in light of the Department of Defense elimination of the rule excluding women from direct ground combat assignments in the Armed Forces

I oppose reforming current women in combat policy and wish to defeat H.R.747

I support requiring women to register for the Selective Service System (military draft) and wish to pass H.R.747

 Posted by at 12:00 am