FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 11, 2019Service Women’s Action Network on the Hill educating Congressional leaders on reproductive healthcare needs of military women

WASHINGTON, DC —Representatives of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) meet with Congressional leaders this week (13-15 Feb) to discuss service women’s and women veterans reproductive healthcare needs.

SWAN conducted a study in 2018 to determine whether military women have sufficient access to (1) their preferred method of birth control; (2) unintended pregnancy services; and (3) infertility services. Nearly 800 Active Duty, reserve and guard, veteran, and retired women participated. The final report, “Access to Reproductive Health Care: The Experiences of Military Women,” published in December 2018, will be delivered to Congressional leaders.

The report identified four major issues facing service women and women veterans. Access to reproductive health care is impacted by rank: 1) enlisted women report lower rates of access to their preferred method of birth control and higher rates of unintended pregnancies than women officers, 2) access to preferred methods of birth control is significantly degraded when deployed for both officers and enlisted women, 3)  access to unintended pregnancy services is limited, and 3) service women and women veterans suffer from infertility at nearly three times the rate of civilian women but receive limited care.

Military women deserve access to the full range of reproductive healthcare at no cost in order to ensure mission-readiness, to optimize their own health and well-being and that of their families, to enable career advancement, and to decide if, when, and how to start a family.

SWAN recommends that Congress pursue follow on research to fill gaps in knowledge and understanding relative to military women’s reproductive care on issues including the disparity in care received between officers and enlisted, unintended pregnancy rates and services, and infertility rates and services. While research is underway service women and women veterans must receive access to all care at no cost. 

About the Service Women’s Action Network
SWAN is a national, nonpartisan organization and member-driven community network advocating for the individual and collective needs of service women and women veterans. To date, SWAN has played a major role in opening all military jobs to service women, holding sex offenders accountable in the military justice system, eliminating barriers to disability claims for those who have experienced military sexual trauma, and expanding access to a broad range of reproductive healthcare services for military women.

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Media Contact: SWAN | O: (202) 798-5570, Email: info@servicewomen.org