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Senators Seek Over-the-Counter Birth Control Access for Troops

October 25, 2023

Svetlana Shkolnikova

Stars and Stripes

The Navy established Contraceptive Walk-In Clinics, or PINC Clinics, offering same-day, no-appointment-necessary services to increase access to contraceptive counseling and prescriptions throughout the service. Operation PINC is a cost-trimming initiative by the Navy to save a potential $15 million a year and 2.7 million lost person-hours by preventing unintended pregnancy. (Aaliyah Essex/U.S. Navy)

By Svetlana Shkolnikova, Stars and Stripes / October 24, 2023

WASHINGTON — More than 30 senators are urging the Defense Department to offer an over-the-counter birth control pill for service members and their families to improve troop access to reproductive health care.

The senators said they want to see health coverage for the military community expanded to include over-the-counter contraceptives such as Opill, the first nonprescription daily pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration in July.

“Access to contraception, as well as education about it, increases readiness and improves quality of life for our service members and their families,” the senators wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Pentagon officials.

The letter is led by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Only two Republicans signed it in support: Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

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