House and Senate legislators are moving toward widening contraception options available to service members and their families.
Draft versions of each chamber’s 2016 defense authorization bill include provisions related to birth control and contraception available through the military health system.
The House bill would expand options available at military treatment facilities, while the Senate bill calls for increased family planning counseling and updates to the military health system’s clinical guidelines on birth control.
Military pharmacies stock many contraceptive prescriptions or devices, but not all methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration are listed in the Defense Department’s basic formulary, the list of medications that military treatment facilities are required to stock.
The House bill would ensure that MTFs offer methods such as Depo-Provera injections, contraceptive rings and intra-uterine devices in addition to the birth control pills and contraceptive patches that are frequently prescribed. The bill also would require military health officials to provide enough medication to female troops to cover the length of an entire deployment.