The Army and Air Force have issued directives that bar commanders from denying leave to female soldiers and airmen who are seeking abortions. Stars and Stripes reported that female service members need only to tell their commanders that they are taking leave to undergo a medical procedure.
The change comes as the Supreme Court may be nearing a change Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortions. Stars and Stripes noted the policy change was in the works for some time, and is not directly related to the leaked high court draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that called for turning back Roe.
“Given the time-sensitive nature of the procedure, pregnancy termination will not require unit commander pre-approval. Soldiers will keep their commander notified of any expected absences … without providing the specifics of the underlying procedure,” the updated Army policy, as reported by Stars and Stripes, states. An Air Force spokeswoman told the news agency that its policy is similar.