Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog #3- Liv

CSW Blog 3-

In my search for reproductive and health care rights of female active duty and veterans of the United States Armed forces, I stumbled upon this article.  The power of the reality of this article rings loudly.  Having been a for-deployed Marine and experiencing an unplanned pregnancy I was more than able to relate to the policy discrimination in reproductive healthcare in the military.

The article begins with a relatable story of a young Navy family and their inability to receive and abortion.  They were forced to pay out of pocket as a result of the current Military Health System (MHS).  The small young family accrued more than $3,000 in debt as a result of this procedure.  Although the MHS does provide many healthcare centers, certain procedures that are legal state-side as a civilian, are illegal as an active duty service person regardless of where you are stationed (unless you pay out of pocket).  The major hiccup about paying out of pocket, is that many of the junior service persons who become pregnant are on the lowest end of the already meager pay scale and are also disadvantaged due to their naive and inexperience with such issues. 

In some cases, as I have personally seen, and as the article reinforces, many females are reprimanded for their admission of sexual activity when they go to the doctor.  Hippocratic Oath aside, many active duty doctors operate under their sworn oath to protect the US Constitution, and will inform local commands that a particular female sought their care concerning a pregnancy.  This is an abomination against the right to privacy.  Many active duty females live in fear of reporting sexually based offenses as a result of this dismissal of the Hippocratic Oath.  Many active duty females will never admit to wanted or unwanted sexual conduct as they face possible reprimand for something that they male counter parts are permitted to do.

One policy implementation that I was pleased to read about was the inclusion of emergency contraception (EC) that is now mandatory in MHS formularies.  According to the article, this only began in 2010 and was a result of and independent advisory panel of military doctors and pharmacists.  Why did it have to take until 2010 for for-deployed active duty females to have access to EC?  Males have regular and non-discriminatory access to condoms without the fear of reprimand or a marred record.  Although varied forms of birth control are more accessible to females, there is still the fear of “career damaging” consequences for receiving the birth control.

The article accurately hit the nail on the head as to why so many female active duty and veterans do not seek care or complain about the lack of care that they receive.  Many face harsh punishments, or further harassment, or even worse a direct denial of basic human rights based on antiquated rights to life laws… Most of which were actually over turned in Roe v Wade in 1973… yet have been ratified through the Hyde Act and 10 USC Sec 1093(b), which prohibits the use of a medical facility or other facility of the Department of Defense (DOD) to perform abortions.  While still legal in the US, abortions are not permitted on a US medical facility or cannot be performed by the DOD.

Looking at the annual income rates of active duty service members who are in their first 1-2 years of service, they do not generate enough income to safely “go out in town” to receive a safe and proper abortion procedure.  It is these same “noobie” service members that are statistically more likely to become impregnated.  How is this fair?  How does this help with mission preparedness? How does this protect the reproductive rights of the same women who sore and oath to protect the US Constitution?  …. A constitution that will not protect them?


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  2. Sounds like you have a very specific topic now! The article you referenced above is a great start for your paper.

    Any luck in finding a "local" agency that supports reproductive rights for women in the military?

    Jane G.

  3. Liv, Good questions, which should lead to good research, and then to comparison with women globally. Your personal military experience gives this topic great relevance. Good luck as you finish up the semester, and look forward to the holidays with your family.