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Senate Approves Defense Bill That Includes Some Abortion Coverage for Servicewomen

The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a Department of Defense authorization bill (S 3254) that includes an amendment allowing the military's health plan to cover abortion care in cases of rape or incest, Reuters/Chicago Tribune reports (Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 12/4). The measure also authorizes DOD to provide abortions at military facilities (Barnes, Wall Street Journal, 12/4).

The Senate and House (HR 4310) versions of the bill have to be reconciled before a final measure can be sent to President Obama.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said he is confident that lawmakers will be able to resolve differences between the two bills. However, Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said reaching a compromise before the end of this Congress will be a challenge (Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 12/4).

Obama has threatened a veto if the final bill includes certain provisions, such as restrictions on detainee transfers (Wall Street Journal, 12/4). The White House also objects to the differences from the Pentagon's budget proposal (Reuters/Chicago Tribune, 12/4).