Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Emergency contraception is a readiness issue

From Feministing, I see that Senator Hilary Clinton reintroduced a bill to give American Servicewomen access to emergency contraception. This also means that the wives and daughters of our servicemen will also have access to EC. This bill will require all DoD health facilities to carry EC. Hopefully, this means that servicewomen will be able to pick up a packet of EC from the Staff Duty NCO if she needs it just like condoms are available at the staff duty desk in some units I was in. (This was really common when I was in Korea. The stories of decadence I could tell you about Korea, but that's another blog entry.) I hope that the female soldier would pick up the condoms before the EC because condoms also protect against STDs.

The reason why EC is a readiness issue is because when a female soldier finds out she is pregnant, she is non-deployable for the length of her pregnancy and for up to six months after she gives birth. A doctor can clear her for deployment sooner if there is a national emergency. (I do not know what the current post-partum rules for deployment are now.)

Not only that, pregnant servicewomen are resented in the military. They are accused of getting pregnant deliberately to get out of deployments. I had a company commander who pulled pregnant females out of their sections to work in the orderly room. These were women who worked in an office with no exposure to hazardous materials. It was like they were being punished for being pregnant. Fortunately, I was in a unit that was much more supportive of me when I was pregnant. However, I suffered from horrible post-partum complications that affected my ability to deploy for nine after my son was born. However, because I had access to a wide variety of birth control options, I was able to plan my pregnancy to happen when I was in a unit that didn't deploy.

It's not that American servicewomen are slutty, it's just they get lots of opportunities to get laid. If you believe that Servicewomen should have another option in their arsenal against unwanted pregnancy, then write your Senator or your Representative and tell him or her to support The Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act.

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