By Elise Viebeck - 04/23/13 06:07 PM EDT
The Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health (MARCH) Act registers within a larger debate over sexual assault in the military.
The Pentagon says that only 3,000 of the estimated 19,000 cases each year are reported, in part because speaking up can harm women's careers.
Supporters of the new bill say these women should not have to report their rapes in order to receive abortions in a familiar medical setting.
"The MARCH Act is an integral part of protecting women in the military," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the bill's lead sponsor, in a statement.
"This legislation would help to respect our service women's right to privacy while ensuring that they receive the best medical care possible in a timely manner," she said.
A parallel House bill from Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) was introduced in March.
Opponents say no abortions should be performed in military hospitals because the facilities are funded with taxpayer dollars.