“We are pleased that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013, recently signed into law by President Obama, includes crucial provisions to fight against discrimination and harassment in the military.
“Following the tragic death of Private Danny Chen, who was hazed and physically abused by his platoon, this bill will require the military to report on their policies to improve anti-hazing training, tracking and response. The measures would require the military to report on hazing incidents and then respond to and resolve those incidents. Hopefully, these safeguards will protect other innocent men and women from the torture that Private Chen had to endure.
“In addition, Senator Shaheen’s amendment in the final version of the NDAA sends an important message: we will not discriminate against the women who bravely serve our nation in the military. The Shaheen Amendment repeals a 30-year-old policy denying service women and military families the same reproductive rights that are afforded to the citizens they protect— insurance coverage of abortions for victims of rape or incest. In a military culture still grappling with ways to effectively combat sexual assault, it’s an abomination that our servicewomen are so often twice victimized.
“We want to thank, in particular, Senator Gillibrand, Senator Schumer and Representative Nydia Velázquez who were so instrumental in this effort.”