Since 1979, Congress has prohibited the Peace Corps from funding Volunteer abortions even in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the Volunteer’s life. This approach directly contrasts with domestic abortion policies, such as Medicaid and those in federal prisons, which contain funding exceptions in these dire circumstances. Affording female Peace Corps Volunteers the same rights enjoyed by other federal employees who receive health care from the government should be uncontroversial. Domestic appropriations politics, however, cloud the focus of this policy, which should be Volunteer health and safety, and thwart efforts for legislative change. Meanwhile, Female Volunteers risk their safety and give two years of their lives to serve in remote regions of the world. In the name of fairness, the Peace Corps Act should be permanently amended to ensure that politics play no role in the provision of comprehensive medical care to female Volunteers.
Eliza T. Murray,
A Long Way From Home: Restrictions on Federal Funding of Abortions for Peace Corps Volunteers,
B.C.J.L. & Soc. Just.