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What’s worse than being a victim of one of the 2,688 “reported sexual assaults involving military personnel” in 2007? How about not being able to access emergency contraception following your assault?
Last week, a federal judge required that pharmacies offer emergency contraception over-the-counter to 17-year-olds (previously, it was only available to women 18 and up, with identification). Reproductive Health Reality Check reminds us that there’s still a whole sector of adult women who may not be able to access the morning-after pill: Servicewomen. Writes Nancy Northup:
But emergency contraception is still difficult to access for many groups of women, including the more than 200,000 women serving in the Armed Services. It’s excluded from the list of what military facilities, including the primary stores where families shop, are required to stock. That can be particularly challenging for women and families who are based overseas and rely solely on those facilities to buy over-the-counter drugs.
So, women are often unable to get emergency contraception in the place they need it the most—-military facilities where sexual assault rates are high and access to alternative pharmacies is low. Northup calls for a campaign to request that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates “make Plan B available to our servicewomen.” You can send the President a message here.