I had an opportunity to speak at the Women’s March Rally in Des Moines on the topic of Women Veterans – who they are – how valuable to America they are – and how they are impacted by the Supreme Court overturning Roe V Wade and replacing if with new and different precedent in Dobbs V Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Concerning the overturning of Roe vs Wade -- yes, women veterans and their families are definitely affected. The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have both made efforts to get around the impact of the overturning of Roe. However, the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortions, and also the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, which excludes abortions from medical care at the VA are problematic. There are other conflicting statutes and the matter will have to be decided by the courts. So the new precedents of Dobbs V Jackson Women’s Health Organization directly impact over 2 million women veterans living in the US today. (source: VA) Of these, approximately 25% are signed up for VA services.
The history of women serving in the US military goes back to the Revolutionary War when on June 28 th 1778, Molly Pitcher famously picked up her husband’s artillery petard (kind of like a monster Q-tip used to press the powder and ball into the cannon) after he was injured, and proceeded to load the cannon over and over during the Battle of Monmouth Court House near modern day Freehold Borough, New Jersey.
After that, records of women supporting or in the military were sloppy or not at all until the Spanish American War. A VA report on woman veterans published in 2011 determined that as of that date, there were 777,500 women veterans going back to the Spanish American War. At this time O can find no other data that reconciles the wide variance in estimates of the number of women veterans.
The crowd gathers around Ako at the Women's rally