IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 6, 2014
Mrs. Shaheen (for herself, Ms. Collins, Mrs. Boxer, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Murray, Ms. Warren, Mr. Tester, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Brown, Mr. Coons, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Durbin, Ms. Cantwell, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Heinrich, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Sanders, Mr. Schatz, Mr. Udall of Colorado, Mr. Begich, Mr. Franken, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Merkley, and Mr. Markey) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
To require that Peace Corps volunteers be subject to the same limitations regarding coverage of abortion services as employees of the Peace Corps with respect to coverage of such services, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Peace Corps Equity Act of 2014
Congress makes the following findings:
Women of the United States, particularly women serving the United States overseas, deserve a basic standard of care when it comes to their health.
Since its founding in 1961, the Peace Corps has advanced interests of the United States by working to promote peace and friendship between the United States and the 139 nations in which the Peace Corps has operated.
Over the past 50 years, more than 210,000 Peace Corps volunteers have served the United States by working in developing countries to address needs in areas such as education, health, youth and community development, business and information and communications technology, agriculture, and the environment.
More than 60 percent of the more than 8,000 current Peace Corps volunteers are women.
Peace Corps volunteers face inherent risks to their safety and security by virtue of living and working abroad.
Data from the Peace Corps from 2000 to 2009 indicate that more than 1,000 Peace Corps volunteers experienced sexual assaults, including 221 rapes or attempted rapes. Data from the Peace Corps also show that incidents of sexual assault and rape against volunteers often go unreported.
Recognizing the high incidence of sexual assault in the Peace Corps, Congress enacted the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011 ( Public Law 112–57 ) to strengthen protections and support for sexual assault survivors.
Since fiscal year 1979, annual appropriations Acts have prohibited the Peace Corps from covering abortion services for its volunteers (including trainees), even in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment of the woman. Employees of the Peace Corps, on the other hand, are provided this coverage.
Abortion services in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment of the woman are now available to almost all groups of women of the United States covered by Federal law, except Peace Corps volunteers.
Abortion coverage in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment of the woman is available to most women, excluding Peace Corps volunteers, covered under Federal health plans, including employees covered by the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, servicewomen covered by TRICARE, Native Americans covered by the Indian Health Service, women inmates and immigration detainees, and Medicaid and Medicare recipients.
There is no rational basis for denying Peace Corps volunteers a basic health care benefit that is extended to other women covered under Federal health care plans.
Equitable treatment of Peace Corps volunteers and employees with respect to coverage of abortion services
Section 5(e) of the Peace Corps Act ( 22 U.S.C. 2504(e) ) is amended—
(e) Volunteers and inserting the following:
by adding at the end the following:
Equitable treatment of volunteers and employees with respect to coverage of abortion services
Coverage of abortion services by the Peace Corps for volunteers shall be subject to the same limitations as those that apply to employees of the Peace Corps with respect to coverage by the Peace Corps of abortion services.
Subparagraph (A) shall apply notwithstanding any provision of law, including a provision of law enacted after the date of the enactment of the Peace Corps Equity Act of 2014 , unless such law explicitly excludes application of subparagraph (A) by reference to such subparagraph.
This paragraph shall not be construed to limit coverage of medical evacuations.