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Mark Udall, who serves on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, called on his colleagues today to support legislation to ensure all service members and their dependents have access to contraception and family planning counseling at no additional cost, just as most Americans do through their health insurance plans. The Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act, which Udall cosponsors, brings TRICARE's contraceptive coverage policies in line with other employer-based insurance plans and expands counseling for survivors of military sexual assault.
"Women who defend our country in the armed forces and military dependents deserve the same coverage for essential health services that other Americans now have," Udall said. "This bill will ensure these women can plan their families without unnecessary economic hardship. And as part of my efforts to combat sexual assault in the military, my bill also expands access to counseling and emergency contraception for survivors. I won't rest until we've ended sexual assault in the armed forces for good, and until we do, we have to do everything we possibly can to provide the care and services survivors need."
TRICARE -- the military's health coverage program for members of the armed forces, retired service members and dependents -- does not currently extend copay-free contraception coverage to non-active duty women and dependents who fill prescriptions at civilian pharmacies.
Udall has worked tirelessly in Congress and with Colorado's military community to take decisive action against sexual assaults committed by and against military personnel. Udall fought to include several provisions to combat military sexual violence and improve care for survivors in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in December.
Udall has also led the effort in the U.S. Senate to protect Colorado women's access to essential health services following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to allow some employers to refuse to cover contraception as part of employees' health insurance policies. A longtime champion for Colorado women's access to affordable health care, Udall has fought to expand access to preventive health care services for women and has championed women's rights to make their own health care decisions.
Read this original document at: http://www.markudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=4450