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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Today, U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine.) introduced the Compassionate Care For Servicewomen Act, which would ensure that women in the military have the same access to emergency contraception that their civilian counterparts do.

While current Department of Defense (DoD) policy allows military health care facilities to stock emergency contraception, they are not required to do so.  The result is that emergency contraception is available at some facilities, and unavailable at others.
The Franken-Snowe Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act would remedy this problem and guarantee that servicewomen have access to emergency contraception by including it on the basic core formulary—the list of medications that must be stocked at each military health-care facility under the DoD’s Pharmacy Benefits Program.

“All servicewomen should have the same access to this medication as civilians do,” said Sen. Franken. “The fact that more than 2,900 sexual assaults were reported last year in the military—a nine percent increase—only heightens the need to ensure emergency contraception is always available.”
The Franken-Snowe Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act is co-sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand  (D-N.Y.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa.).

Emergency contraception is widely available at pharmacies throughout the United States, however, it is not always available to U.S. servicewomen in the military, particularly those serving overseas.  
The Franken-Snowe Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act:
·     Requires that emergency contraception be included in the basic core formulary of the uniform formulary, the list of medications that must be stocked at all full-service military treatment facilities.
·     Specifies that prior authorization shall not be required for emergency contraception, as DoD may require for certain medications.
·     Requires that emergency contraception be available specifically in drug form (since intrauterine devices can also sometimes be used as emergency contraception).


The following organizations have endorsed the bill:


  NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota   
  Minnesota Nurses Association   
  Minnesota Medical Association   
  Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota   
  Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition   
  Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault   
  Sexual Violence Center   
  Minnesota National Organization for Women   
  Pro Choice Resources   
  Midwest Health Center for Women   
  Religious Coalition for Reproductive Rights   


  NARAL Pro-Choice America SWAN: Servicewomen's Action Network National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO)   
  National Partnership for Women and Families   
  Women’s Research & Education Institute (WREI)   
  American Association of University Women   
  National Coalition against Domestic Violence   
  American Civil Liberties Union   
  American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists   
  American Association of University Women   
  American Society for Reproductive Medicine   
  Center for Reproductive Rights   
  National Council of Jewish Women   
  National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA)   
  National Organization for Women   
  National Partnership for Women & Families   
  Planned Parenthood Federation of America   
  Population Connection   
  Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice   
  Reproductive Health Technologies Project   
  Speaking Out Against Rape (SOAR)   
  National Women's Law Center   
  National Research Center for Women and Families   

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