NWLC Reacts to Harmful and Dangerous Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act

Washington, DC – Today, the House narrowly passed an annual defense bill which includes several extreme amendments threatening the rights and health care access of service members and their families. The Republican-led amendments include prohibiting the Department of Defense from providing necessary support for service members and dependents seeking abortion care off base, and barring a health care program which covers life-saving medications and gender affirming surgery for transgender and non-binary service members. The amendments also categorically bar the inclusion of any books in the Department of Defense’s K-12 schools discussing sexual orientation and gender identity, and they prohibit the use of federal funds for diversity, equity, and inclusion programming within the Department of Defense.

In response, Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), shared the following statement:

“With these amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, Republicans are continuing a concerted attack on abortion access, the rights of LGBTQI+ service members, and people of color serving in our military. These damaging amendments not only violate the reproductive rights of service members and their loved ones, but also perpetuate discrimination against transgender and non-binary individuals, dismissing their right to comprehensive, equal, and medically necessary health care. They also attack diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts that help enable the full participation of people of color in our military. It is alarming to witness the lengths to which Republicans are willing to go in their relentless pursuit of obstructing abortion access, the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals, and the basic understanding that each of us should be treated with dignity and inclusion. Their actions now infiltrate every aspect of our government. No legislation similar to these poison pill amendments should become law. The National Women’s Law Center strongly urges Congress to prioritize the health and rights of service members and their families by removing these provisions from the National Defense Authorization Act.”

“Shame on the House members who voted for these provisions. Their awful attempt to seize our defense bill to pursue agendas that are deeply harmful, unpopular, and discriminatory only does one thing: makes clear they are uninterested in legislating what is best for our country and for those willing to serve. Extremism is a growing threat in our country, from our courts to our state legislatures to Congress. We stand in strong support of those legislators rejecting the efforts to use our military to undermine our democracy and security.”