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Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care

The DOD recognizes the complexity and uncertainty facing service members in accessing reproductive health care, to include abortion care. They also recognize health care providers may have concerns about legal and financial risks they may face carrying out their lawful federal duties. Service members may be forced to travel greater distances, take more time off work, and pay more out-of-pocket expenses to access reproductive health care.

Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care

DOD Policies

Following the Oct. 20, 2022, memorandum, "Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care,” the DOD has released policies on:

  • Command notification of pregnancy.
  • Administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care.
  • Travel allowances for non-covered reproductive health care.

As Secretary Austin has made clear, the health and well-being of our Service members, the civilian workforce, and DOD families are top priorities for the Department. These new policies:

  • Reflect the DOD’s commitment to taking care of our people.
  • Ensure that the entire Force remains ready and resilient.
  • Ensure service members are able to access non-covered reproductive health care, no matter where they are located.

In the table below, please find links to the policies on the Official Website for DOD Issuances and a fact sheet that explains what it means for you. For an overview of all the policies, please see the Policy Overview Fact Sheet.

Topic  Description Links
Command Notification of Pregnancy 

Provides Service members the time and flexibility to make private health care decisions in a manner consistent with the responsibility of commanders to meet operational requirements and protect the health and safety of those in their care.

Service members may choose to delay pregnancy notification to commanders but must notify no later than 20 weeks gestation. 

PolicyFact Sheet

Administrative Absence for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care 

Service members may be granted an administrative absence for a period of up to 21 days to receive, or to accompany a dual military spouse or a dependent who receives, non-covered reproductive health care without taking leave.

Service members may need to disclose a minimum amount of health information necessary for commanders to authorize the administrative absence. 

PolicyFact Sheet
Official Travel for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care 

Authorizes travel and transportation allowances for a Service member or an eligible dependent, and for an attendant or escort if a Service member or eligible dependent is incapable of traveling alone, who must travel to access non-covered reproductive health care and would otherwise have to pay for that travel themselves. 

PolicyFact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

We've provided answers to some commonly asked questions with regard to reproductive health care. The answers here are intended to provide a general overview of departmental policies and are not intended to alter or amend those policies. The answers in this document are intended to apply broadly to the Force as a whole and the term “Service member” is used with that intent. When there is a meaningful distinction between the Active and Reserve component, more specific terms are used to highlight and clarify the distinction.

View the FAQs Online Download a PDF Version

Related Service Links

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Last Updated: March 14, 2024
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