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Article

Military women, Zika and abortion: A letter to the editor

Responding to 33 U.S. Service Members Have Contracted Zika, Pentagon Says, an article published on August 3, 2016 in the New York Times, ANSIRH’s Dan Grossman and Carole Joffe pointed out that the article was “noteworthy for what it did not mention: the possibility that exposed servicewomen or sexual partners of exposed servicemen could need an abortion because of the risk of fetal malformations associated with Zika infection.”

Their letter, published in the Times’ Letters to the Editor on August 15, noted that “under American law, women in the military, as well as dependents with military health insurance, may get coverage for abortion only in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment. Even if they want to pay for the abortion themselves for other reasons, they cannot obtain it at military facilities.”

Drs. Grossman and Joffe argued that “we owe it to those serving our country to make available to them the full spectrum of necessary reproductive health services, including contraceptive methods to prevent unintended pregnancy and testing for the Zika virus, as well as abortion services for those who request them.”

Banner photo: © Aura Orozco-Fuentes

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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