Barriers to Abortion Access for Active-Duty Servicewomen Stationed Domestically and Abroad

April 2019

Women in all branches of the military continue to face hurdles in accessing a vital component of reproductive healthcare—abortion care. The lack of coverage through the military’s insurance program, TRICARE, and the federal ban on abortion services within military treatment facilities (MTFs) conspire to create financial and logistical burdens that delay abortion care for active-duty servicewomen and military dependents. Stigma and confidentiality concerns further complicate servicewomen’s ability to navigate the complex process of obtaining abortion care while serving their country. Servicewomen stationed abroad face additional obstacles, depending on the abortion restrictions in the host country and their ability to travel to another country to access this care. This paper delves deeper into how lack of insurance coverage, the MTF ban, stigma, and confidentiality concerns work in tandem to prevent servicewomen from obtaining access to necessary reproductive healthcare.