Pregnancy ban won't mean wider access to morning-after pills
Published: December 23, 2009
Amid the growing controversy surrounding the ban on U.S. soldiers getting pregnant while serving in Iraq, several reporters asked Multi-National DivisionNorth commander Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo if he'll now make birth control products and morning-after pills like Plan B more readily available to female soldiers.
His answer? No way.
"We do not provide any abortive services to our soldiers," he told reporters yesterday. "There's nothing like that here."
Currently Congress prohibits military physicians from performing abortions at military bases overseas (UPDATE: As readers pointed out, they are allowed in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is at risk) and female veterans groups have complained about the lack of availability of morning-after pills and even some basic female contraceptives downrange. Recently Democratic lawmakers have made a push to make emergency contraceptives more readily available to overseas troops, but the results are still inconsistent.
Still, Cucolo said so far no women under his command have raised that issue, and he has no plans to act on it.
"We've only had discussion about appropriate behavior, and consideration about the impact of getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant -- Nothing about pills," he said.
[PHOTO: Associated Press]