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Research project

Reproductive Health Access for Women in the US Military

Because of the provisions of the Hyde Amendment, a federal law that prohibits federal funding from being used for abortion care except in the case of rape, incest or life endangerment, the hundreds of thousands of women serving in the U.S. military face unique barriers to accessing care. In addition to the limited availability of services, particularly when women are deployed, servicewomen are often prohibited directly or indirectly from engaging in sexual activity and are, therefore, less likely to seek abortion or even contraceptive care. ANSIRH collaborates with Ibis Reproductive Health on research to investigate the reproductive health needs and experiences of servicewomen in the US military.

Ibis conducted the first study of US military women’s experiences seeking abortion care during overseas deployment; performed a systematic literature review on contraceptive use, unintended pregnancy, and abortion in the military; and conducted an online survey and in-depth interviews with servicewomen exploring their experiences accessing and using contraception and other reproductive health services during deployment and identifying potential solutions for increased access to care.

Researchers have also explored the role that telemedicine could play in abortion provision in the military, and performed a review of military insurance coverage of women’s and men’s sexual and reproductive health services through TRICARE, the insurance program for military members and their dependents, compared to a nationwide health plan for civilian federal employees.

This innovative work will continue to explore and document the realities and impact of reproductive health access for this critical population. To learn more about this project or to stay up-to-date with research developments, please visit the Ibis project page.

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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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