Army chief says soldiers cannot relocate if they don't like state's abortion laws

The U.S. Army says that soldiers can't relocate just because they don't like the abortion laws of a certain state

Updated: September 14, 2022 - 2:53pm

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Gen. James McConville, the Army's chief of staff, says the military service branch will not reassign members who don't want to be stationed in states that have anti-abortion laws, limiting access to the procedure.

“We do have options where a soldier can say, 'Hey, I want to serve in Alaska,’ and if we can meet those preferences, we will actually do that," McConville said last week, according to the anti-abortion group Live Action.

"But as far as, 'I'm only going to serve in these states' or 'I’m going to do that' … . It's a contract. You could say, 'I'd like to go to one of these places' and if we can make it work, we'll try to make it work for them." 

Members of the Army want military branch's "compassionate reassignment" policy to allow soldiers to transfer to a new state if they felt discriminated against based on sex, religion, gender or pregnancy, the Military Times reports.

The army's "compassionate reassignment" policy is: 

"A compassionate action request is one from an individual soldier, requesting reassignment, deletion, or deferral from orders. A compassionate reassignment is a reassignment of a soldier to another duty station prior to his or her scheduled permanent change of station (PCS). It normally occurs in response to a family emergency, hardship, or other situation in which a soldier’s presence at another duty station is warranted."

McConville appear to decline to directly respond to the question of whether he's been pressured by Congress to update this policy.

"All I can say, as chief of staff of the Army, is we're just trying to take care of our soldiers and families," he said.