Pentagon Allows Morning After Pill on Military Bases

In a reversal from the Bush administraion, DOD allows emergency contraception.

ByABC News
February 5, 2010, 5:02 PM

Feb. 5, 2010— -- Female soldiers will now have access to the morning after pill at military bases worldwide.

The Pentagon announced the ruling this week that the Department of Defense would provide the soldiers with Plan B, otherwise known as the morning after pill.

Department of Defense spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that the decision came after a recommendation of an independent panel of doctors and pharmacists in November.

Meeting minutes show the Department of Defense's Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee voted for the allowance 13-2.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, praised the Pentagon and the shift from the resistance of the Bush administration to provide emergency contraception when the issue was raised in 2002.

Women serving overseas, she said in a statement posted on NARAL's Web site, deserve the same rights to medical care provided to women on U.S. soil.

"I firmly believe that this decision marks an end to the political intrusion of the previous administration that blocked military women from having this guaranteed access," she said. "It's a tragedy that women in uniform have been denied such basic health care."

Anti-abortion activities have long denounced the use of Plan B, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006, likening the pill's heavy doses of hormones to a surgical abortion.

Proponents of the drug said it does not cause an abortion, but rather significantly decreases the woman's chances of becoming pregnant if taken shortly after sex.

The Pentagon's decision comes less than two months after an Army general in Iraq made headlines when he included pregnancy as a punishable offense for the women in his command and the men who got them pregnant.