Tell Congress to Support the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act!
To get Congress to re-introduce H.R. 2064, the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, which was introduced to Congress in 2007, and would have ensured that women in uniform could access emergency contraception, or Plan B, at any Military Treatment Facility as part of the TRICARE Formulary. This bill died in Committee, and this petition is to urge Congress to re-introduce this bill to hopefully get it off the ground and get better access to birth control for our women in uniform.
At the end of the last fiscal year, the Pentagon reported that 2,923 cases of sexual assault were reported, many of them with physical, medical evidence supporting claims of rape, a nine percent increase from the previous year. Hardly any of them saw a day in a military court.
Even more infuriating is that a bill was introduced in 2007 by then Senator Hillary Clinton. H.R. 2064, or the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act was introduced to Congress, and there it stopped. This bill would have amended Title 10, making Emergency Contraception, commonly known in the U.S. as “Plan B” mandatorily available in all military treatment facilities. This would have meant that a female service member would be able to obtain EC at any TRICARE accepting facility following a sexual assault, no questions asked. Currently it is available in some facilities over the counter as long as you are over 18, but TRICARE does not cover over the counter medications for active duty personnel at all facilities. A military dependent is able to obtain it, even if she is 17 or younger with a doctor's note. Since the Hyde Amendment restricts a servicewoman's access to abortion through TRICARE, access to birth control can be vital to stopping unplanned pregnancies before they start, and can mean the difference in a woman's military career choices.
Why, when we know that a woman is more likely to die at the hands of her male counterparts than from enemy fire, do we not act? Why, with the startling number of reported rapes and sexual assaults against servicewomen do we stay silent? Last year Congress allowed for TRICARE to cover the cost of rape kits for victims in emergency rooms, but only just last year. We are making tiny steps forward in the name of reproductive justice for women in uniform, but it just isn't enough. It pales in comparison to that of the meager rights civilian women fight to hold onto, as grim as they are.
The medical care of our women in uniform should not fade away like a dead bill in committee. We want the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act back on the table. We want medical care for our mothers, sister, daughters, and nieces who have answered a call to arms. Only 66 people, including one Republican, signed it last time, and that just isn't good enough. We need this bill, we need access to legal and dependable birth control for our women in uniform, and we need it years ago.
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