Help GIs who want a baby
Letters to the Editor, June 4, 2012
In her June 2 column “Stop denying female GIs full reproductive rights,” retired Maj. Gen. Gale S. Pollock makes the case that the issue is “fairness” when discussing whether military members should have abortions covered by their health care providers. Unfortunately, in using “reproductive health” as a clean code word for abortion, she has blindly dismissed the other category of those struggling with their own reproductive issues.
While the political debate goes on about when does life begin, the rights of the mother to terminate that life, completely overlooked in the “reproductive health” argument are the couples who are trying to get pregnant but cannot due to one factor or another.
Tricare only covers medications and noninvasive treatments. So in vitro fertilization and other such treatments, the burden is completely on the servicemember. Often it takes multiple cycles of IVF spanning over several years before some women see a successful result.
Our struggle to have children lasted seven years and cost us more than $30,000, none of which Tricare covered. Although it was a long and difficult process for us, we were lucky. If we had not been stationed in Europe, where clinics provide the same high-quality care for a lower cost, the same course of treatments back in the United States would have cost well over $200,000. However, when I look into the eyes of my son and see the smile of my daughter light up the room, I would have to make the same decision again.
If you want true “reproductive health” covered, you need to include the much longer, harder and more expensive struggle to have children. When you discuss “reproductive health” only in the terms of abortion, you do a disservice to all those who struggle month after month, trying one thing after another, going through one heartbreak after another just for the slight chance to experience what those on the other side are fighting to get rid of.