Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) reintroduced the Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act, which would improve access to contraception for women in the military and women who rely on military health care coverage by requiring military insurance to cover all FDA-approved forms of contraception without copays. Donna Barry, Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement in support of the reintroduction of the bill:
The women who bravely serve our country deserve uninhibited access to the same preventive health care and family planning services offered to civilian women under the Affordable Care Act. This bill would ensure that women in the military and women who depend on military health care no longer face financial barriers to obtaining contraception, and I applaud Sen. Shaheen and Rep. Speier for continuing to pursue this important measure.
While this bill is a significant step to address the inconsistencies in reproductive and sexual health care for women in uniform, reproductive and sexual health care in the military continues to fall short of its obligations. Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must continue to improve reproductive and sexual health care for servicewomen by providing these women full access to the same family planning and sexual health care as civilians.
Last year, the Center for American Progress released a report examining the many obstacles women in the military face in accessing reproductive and sexual health care and put forth a comprehensive series of policy recommendations to improve servicewomen’s access to the health care they need. In addition to calling for the passage of the Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act, the report calls for a range of policies to ensure appropriate and timely gynecological screenings and follow-up care before deployment; access to needed medical care for veterans who have been sexually assaulted in the military; and fair and reasonable accommodations for servicewomen who choose to carry their pregnancies to term and to lift all coverage and facilities bans on military abortion care, among other recommendations.
Read the report: Out of Range: Obstacles to Reproductive and Sexual Health Care in the Military by Jessica Arons, Lindsay Rosenthal, and Donna Barry
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328.