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The Defense Department has policies to help service members obtain reproductive health care, including abortion.

The policies, announced Feb. 16, 2023, reinforce a “commitment to taking care of our people, ensuring their health and well-being, and ensuring the force remains ready and resilient.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, alluded to the policies in a Sept. 14 interview.

To obtain an abortion or other reproductive care not available locally, service members can request time off without losing pay or being charged for administrative leave and receive reimbursement for transportation and other travel expenses.

Politico reported Sept. 15 that U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, is blocking more than 300 senior military promotions until the Defense Department rescinds the policy, which has been used by about a dozen women.

Twenty-one states ban abortion or restrict it earlier in pregnancy than the standard set by Roe v. Wade, according to The New York Times.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


U.S. Department of Defense: DoD Releases Policies to Ensure Access to Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care

Fox News: Sen. Ron Johnson: McConnell is completely out of step with our conference

U.S. Department of Defense: Defense secretary memo: Administrative Absence for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care

U.S. Department of Defense: Defense Department memo: Military Advisory Panel Item 86-22(R), Paragraph 033013 ‘Travel for NonCovered Reproductive Health Care Services’

Politico: Troops avoid abortion travel policy fueling Tuberville blockade

New York Times: Tracking Abortion Bans Across the Country

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for Milwaukee Magazine and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.