Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tell Congress: "Stop Denying Emergency Contraception to our Servicewomen!"

Click here to send a quick email to Congress demanding they provide emergency contraception to servicewomen

With over 350,000 women serving in our nation's armed services, it is reprehensible that this administration will not allow them complete access to emergency contraception. You can help.

Last year nearly 3,000 military women reported sexual assault while on active duty. Part of the recommended regimen for treating survivors of assault is to inform them about and offer them emergency contraception, yet it is only sporadically available to servicewomen at their base pharmacies and medical facilities in the U.S. and overseas.

This is simply unacceptable. Women in the military deserve more from their country. Until this sexual violence ends, we must at least ensure that they can prevent any pregnancy resulting from these criminal acts.

No one questions the need for the highest grade and most reliable form of protective body armor for our troops at war. Yet our women in the armed services are often defenseless to prevent pregnancies resulting from rape because they are being denied information about and access to emergency contraception. We must support legislation to guarantee that our servicewomen have the same access to emergency contraception as their civilian counterparts.

The Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act (S.1800/H.R.2064), sponsored by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Representative Michael Michaud (D-Maine), requires full access to emergency contraception for servicewomen at all U.S. military health care facilities around the world.

Take Action NOW

Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act which will require that all military health care facilities stock emergency contraception. Tell them to support this health care version of "body armor” which will protect the reproductive health and human rights of women serving our country in the armed forces.


Emergency contraception (EC), also known as the morning-after pill (brand name Plan B), is a safe, effective, FDA-approved pharmaceutical. EC is simply a high dose of hormonal birth control pills which can be used to prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. While EC is sold without prescription for women ages 18 and older in all 50 states, U.S. servicewomen are not guaranteed access to the drug on military bases in our country and abroad, including fields of combat.

In 2002, the Department of Defense initially added its Basic Care Formulary, a list of over 200 medications required to be stocked at all military treatment facilities. Sadly, emergency contraception was quietly removed from the list weeks later, a result of ideological pressure from the Bush administration. Now, it is at the discretion of each health facility to decide whether or not to stock EC, and military women have no guarantee of universal access.

Servicewomen deserve quality health care, including access to EC. In 2003, a survey financed by the Defense Department found that almost a third of all servicewomen reported being the victim of rape or attempted rape during their time in the Armed Services. Most women serving our country rely exclusively on military facilities for all their health care needs and restricting or denying access to emergency contraception is not only unhealthy and irresponsible but completely unjust.

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