Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King from Maine announced Friday that he has joined legislation that would guarantee access for military service members and their dependents to all forms of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with no health insurance co-pay.
Sen. King joins Republican Sen. Susan Collins and his fellow independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) as the only non-Democrat sponsors of the legislation.
The bill, entitled the “Access to Contraception for Servicemembers and Dependents Act,” would align the coverage for contraceptives under TRICARE — the health care program for service members and their families — with the coverage granted to civilians under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
That coverage would include sterilization surgeries, oral contraceptives, barrier methods, implants, and emergency contraceptives — frequently called “Plan B” or the “morning-after pill.”
The bill notes that the coverage would apply to “all individuals with the capacity for pregnancy,” listing “cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.”
“Women across the nation should have the ability to make personal medical decisions without the input or permission of government officials,” Sen. King said Friday. “Yet, the Supreme Court majority rejected this fundamental right—after nearly fifty years of precedent—in favor of its own political and religious agenda, and opened the door to continued attacks on reproductive rights nationwide.”
“Our service members should not be forced to needlessly risk their personal health and safety for routine health care simply because they pledged to protect and defend our nation,” King said.
King has previously referred to the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade as “a dangerous, blatantly political ruling that will rob millions of women the fundamental right to make decisions about their own health, safety, and lives.”