CFI Backs Proposal Expanding Access to Contraception for Military Women

July 30, 2014

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) today joined 36 national organizations in declaring its formal support for a new proposal in the U.S. Senate that would provide for comprehensive contraceptive coverage and family planning counseling for all servicemembers, as well as their dependents who rely on the military for health care.

The Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2014, proposed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), would bring the military’s contraceptive coverage policies in line with civilian employer-based insurance plans. Under the military’s current health care program, all active servicemembers have coverage of all prescriptions without co-pay, no matter where or how they obtain their prescription. But, due to a statutory provision, the program does not cover dependents or women not on active duty; they are required to pay if their contraceptive prescription is filled anywhere but a military treatment facility.

Sen. Shaheen’s proposal, which already has 16 co-sponsors, would close this gap in contraceptive coverage, and in addition would ensure that active duty servicewomen receive comprehensive family planning services and counseling. 

As the coalition’s letter states:

“Women play a vital role in the U.S. military and currently constitute 16 percent of all active duty and reserve members of the military. This bill would ensure that confidential, comprehensive, and medically accurate family-planning counseling becomes a guaranteed health service for servicewomen, and is offered by medical providers that have the most up-to-date, evidenced-based information regarding the full range of contraceptive methods available. …

We believe it is the duty of our military to provide the highest quality health care to all servicemembers and military dependents, women included, and therefore strongly support the Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2014.”

You can learn more about the bill here.

The letter was signed by a diverse group of secular, religious, civil rights, and women’s organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Catholics for Choice, Center for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

You can download the full letter here.