Strickland Introduces Legislation to Help Military Members Access Fertility Care and Raise Families – The Suburban Times

Announcement from the Office of Representative Marilyn Strickland.

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10), a leader of the Pro-Choice Caucus, led the introduction of the Expanded Access to Fertility Care Act for Military Members and Dependents, which would expand TRICARE coverage to make Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) services available to all active duty military personnel (including Reserve and National Guard) and dependents – regardless of service login requirements, gender , gender, sexual orientation or marital status of the member. This bill has been approved by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Modern Military Association of America. The legislation is co-sponsored by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-at-large), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Mark Takano (CA-41) and Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) . (Please find the invoice text on this link.)

“Answering the call to serve often means making a great number of sacrifices for your country. Being able to start a family shouldn’t be one of them. My bill, the Expanding Access to Fertility Care for Military Members and Dependents Act, removes the current barriers in TRICARE and helps ensure that all servicemen can access fertility care. they deserve to start a family ”, said MP Strickland.

“All military personnel deserve equitable access to infertility care without discrimination. The law on expanding access to fertility care for military personnel and dependents is an important step towards this goal. This law would remove legal barriers to infertility care for active-duty military personnel that render many ineligible for coverage, including single service members, service members in same-sex partnerships, and service-affected service members. unexplained infertility. This law would also bring us closer to the day when all military personnel will have equitable access to comprehensive infertility care that will help them achieve their goal of starting a family ”, said Karla Torres, senior human rights adviser, Center for Reproductive Rights.

According to the New York Times, one of the first issues military personnel struggling with infertility face is insurance coverage. TRICARE currently pays for assisted reproduction procedures if a loss of reproductive capacity is the result of a service-related injury. Otherwise, service members have to pay out of pocket.

Even for those who are eligible for TRICARE fertility care, a Service Women’s Action Network report found that women who were not heterosexual or unmarried appeared to receive a wide variety of infertility care and, in some cases, were denied infertility treatments. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, an estimated 16 percent of military women and four percent of military men identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Additionally, single servicemen make up about 43% of active duty military personnel, 52% of National Guard and Reserve personnel, and 40% of veterans.


The bill expands TRICARE to cover assisted reproductive technology services for all active duty members and dependents, ensuring that service connection, sex, gender, sexual orientation and marital status do not are not obstacles to building a family.

Currently, TRICARE limits coverage to certain assisted reproduction services when medically necessary and in combination with natural conception. To be eligible, members must prove that they: 1) are on active duty, 2) have serious illness or injury while on active duty, 3) have lost their natural reproductive capacity due to this disease or injury, 4) can provide their own genetic material to get pregnant, and 5) have a legitimate spouse who can also provide their own genetic material. These current tight requirements put assisted reproduction services beyond the reach of our military personnel and their spouses who are not eligible to receive care. According to the National Conference of State Legislative Assemblies, the average cost per cycle of IVF can range from $ 12,000 to $ 17,000. In addition, under the requirements of TRICARE, service members who are not married, in same-sex marriages and who cannot prove that a service-related illness or injury caused their infertility are automatically excluded from the right to receive care. This law would eliminate those exclusions.

Christmas in Fort Steilacoom

Congresswoman Strickland is a vocal reproductive rights advocate in Congress, a new leader of the Pro-Choice Caucus and a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. In November, Strickland sent a letter encouraging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reduce barriers to continued access to birth control by requiring insurance companies to cover, without cost sharing, a 12-month supply of oral contraceptives. In April, Strickland co-led the introduction of the Law on access to contraception for military personnel and dependents, legislation to ensure military families receive the quality reproductive health care they deserve. In April, Strickland also led Pro-Choice Caucus members on a letter to advance and protect reproductive health rights in the United States and around the world. In March, Strickland co-led the introduction of the Abortion is the health care law everywhere, legislation to repeal the Helms Amendment and advance reproductive and economic freedom and equity around the world. A member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, Strickland is an original cosponsor of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and the Healthy Moms Act, legislation that comprehensively addresses the maternal health crisis in America.

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