The Pentagon issued a series of memos Thursday outlining policy changes to give reproductive health options to service members who may not have such services available in their area, as Military Times reported.
“These policies reinforce the Secretary of Defense’s commitment to taking care of our people, ensuring their health and well-being, and ensuring the force remains ready and resilient,” DOD said in a press release.
Service members who have to travel out of state for an abortion or fertility treatment will get up to three weeks of leave and have their travel expenses paid. The same benefits apply if the service member is accompanying a spouse or dependent.
The new policies also give service members 20 weeks to notify their commanders of a pregnancy.
“Our service members and their families do not control where they are stationed and due to the nature of military service are frequently required to travel or move to meet operational requirements,” the release said. “The efforts taken by the department today will not only ensure that service members and their families are afforded time and flexibility to make private health care decisions but will also ensure service members are able to access non-covered reproductive health care regardless of where they are stationed.”
Military services have 30 days to implement the changes.
DOD photo by Chad J. McNeeley