Federal Bill Would Ensure Military Servicewomen, Dependents Have Equal Access to Birth Control, Family Planning
Sen. Shaheen and Rep. Speier reintroduce legislation to extend comprehensive reproductive health care coverage and counseling to servicewomen, military dependents
(PRESS RELEASE) Today members of Congress reintroduced a federal bill that would guarantee all women who rely on the military for their health care—including active and non-active duty servicemembers and dependents—comprehensive coverage for contraceptives and family-planning counseling.
The “Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2015,” first introduced in July 2014, would bring the military’s health program, also known as TRICARE, in line with contraceptive coverage required in most health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. Under the proposed legislation, the nearly 5 million women eligible for TRICARE would have the same birth control coverage as federal employees.
The bill, reintroduced today by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), would also ensure that women who depend on TRICARE for health coverage receive comprehensive family-planning counseling and improve access to emergency contraception for servicewomen who have been sexually assaulted. It would also ensure that a full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods is available at Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs).
Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Women who have committed their lives to serve our country deserve nothing less than equal and affordable access to health care coverage for themselves and their families.
“With the vast majority of servicewomen being of reproductive age, many of whom may be deployed far from home, the benefits of expanding coverage of contraception and family planning services for women in the military couldn’t be clearer.”
Women represent 16 percent of all active duty and reserve members of the military, with 97 percent being of reproductive age. Currently, active-duty military have no cost-sharing for any prescriptions, but non-active-duty military and dependents must pay cost-sharing for birth control acquired outside a military treatment facility.