National Defense Authorization Act Includes Contraceptive Counseling Provision

Nov 30 2015

(Washington, DC)—On November 25th the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (S. 1356).  The bill includes a provision to require health providers employed by the Department of Defense to provide women in the military with counseling on the full range of contraceptive methods and the options that might be best for their particular deployment situations. The provision, which was originally part of legislation introduced last year by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), received bipartisan support.

“This provision is a positive step towards ensuring that women who serve our country in the military have access to high quality contraceptive care, including comprehensive counseling to choose the best method for them,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  “Ensuring that all women—including servicewomen and their families—can plan and space their pregnancies is essential to continued advancements in educational and economic opportunities, improved maternal and infant health, greater family wellbeing, fewer abortions, and reduced public and private costs.

“This provision recognizes the unique deployment circumstances faced by women in the Armed Forces and the need for state of the art provider counseling.  When servicewomen are able to select and use the most appropriate contraceptive method for their situation, unplanned pregnancy will decline and our military will be strengthened.”

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families by preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy.  Please visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org to find out more.   

A group of teenage girls