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Defense bill drops amendment blocking Pentagon abortion policy

A compromise version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) reached by negotiators in the House and Senate dropped an amendment to block the Pentagon’s policy providing paid leave to service members who travel for an abortion.

A draft version of the NDAA unveiled Thursday by the Senate and House Armed Services committees says House Republicans who passed the amendment over the summer agreed to drop the provision.

The Defense Department’s policy, in addition to providing paid leave, reimburses travel costs for service members who need to travel for an abortion service.

That policy was passed in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which enshrined abortion rights across the country.

But it led to furious anger on the right and a 10-month hold on more than 400 military promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who finally dropped his blockade this week on most of the officers.

House Republicans passed the amendment to the NDAA along with several other contentious provisions on cultural battles in July.

Dropping the amendment may lead to resistance to the NDAA in the House, especially among more conservative representatives.

But lawmakers must reach a consensus with the Democratic-controlled Senate if they want to pass the Defense bill on time.

Congress approved a short-term funding bill last month that keeps the Pentagon funded temporarily until February.

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