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Reproductive Health: Administrative Absence for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care, Regular Leave, and Special Liberty

Administrative Absence for Non-Covered Reproductive Health Care, Regular Leave, and Special Liberty

Q1:

What is included in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?

A:

For the purposes of these policies, ART includes:

  • Ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, including any needed medications and procedures required for retrieval, processing and utilization for ART or cryopreservation
  • Sperm collection and processing for ART or cryopreservation
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) inclusive of the following procedures for beneficiaries when clinically indicated:
    • In vitro fertilization with fresh embryo transfer
    • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)
    • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)
    • Pronuclear stage tubal transfer (PROST)
    • Tubal embryo transfer (TET)
    • Frozen embryo transfer

Q2:

What is the new policy on administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care? What is non-covered reproductive health care?

A:

Service members may be granted an administrative absence from their normal duty station, without being charged leave, for a period of up to 21 days to receive, or to accompany a dual-military spouse or dependent who receives, non-covered reproductive health care.

Non-covered reproductive health care is defined in policy as lawfully available assisted reproductive technology, which includes egg retrieval, IUI, and IVF, and non-covered abortion. Non-covered reproductive health care is at the patient’s expense.

More information on this policy is available at: www.health.mil/EnsuringAccesstoReproductiveHealth.

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Q3:

What is a covered abortion and what is a non-covered abortion?

A:

The Department of Defense defines a covered abortion is an abortion, either medical or surgical, where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or in a case in which the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.

A non-covered abortion is an abortion, either medical or surgical, that does not meet the criteria of a covered abortion.


 

Q4:

Who is eligible to request an administrative absence under the new policy?

A:

Active duty Service members, including Reserve or National Guard members when on active duty orders for 30 or more consecutive days, may request an administrative absence to access non-covered reproductive health care, or accompany a dependent to access non-covered reproductive health care.

Q5:

When should a Service member consider requesting an administrative absence?

A:

An administrative absence can be requested when a Service member needs to access, or accompany a dependent to access, non-covered reproductive health care so that they do not need to use chargeable leave. Service members who are already accessing ART through the Supplemental Health Care Program are not eligible as they are able to receive such care without using chargeable leave.

Q6:

As a Commander, what is my role and responsibility with regards to the new policy on administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care?

A:

It is the responsibility of Commanders or approval authorities to meet operational requirements and protect the health and safety of those in their care. Commanders or approval authorities are expected to display objectivity, compassion, and discretion when addressing all health care matters, including reproductive health care matters, and have a duty to enforce existing policies against discrimination and retaliation in the context of reproductive health care choices.

Commanders or approval authorities must act promptly when considering a Service member’s request for an administrative absence to access non-covered reproductive health care, with due regard to the time-sensitive nature of many non-covered reproductive health care services. Requests for administrative absence should be given all due consideration and should be granted to the greatest extent practicable unless, in the commanding officer’s judgment, the Service member’s absence would impair proper execution of the military mission.

Commanders or approval authorities will not levy additional requirements on the eligible Service member (including, but not limited to, consultations with a chaplain, medical testing, or other forms of counseling) prior to approving or denying the administrative absence request.

Commanders must protect the privacy of protected health information, and information shall be restricted to personnel with a specific need to know.


Q7:

If I don’t want to request an administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care, am I still able to request and be granted regular leave or special liberty for non-covered reproductive health care services?

A:

Yes. Service members on Active Duty may choose to request regular leave or special liberty instead of an administrative absence to access non-covered reproductive health care. Special liberty would be limited to no more than 4 days.

Q8:

Am I eligible to request an administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care or regular leave or special liberty to receive a covered abortion?

A:

Service members are already authorized to receive covered abortions and do not need to be in a leave or liberty status in order to access this care.

Service members who are eligible for a covered abortion may seek care at their local military medical treatment facility. Existing processes exist to fund travel for Service members who must receive covered care outside the local area.


Q9:

Am I allowed to request an administrative absence in order to use ART to make money — for example, selling their eggs or sperm?

A:

No. Service members will not be granted an administrative absence to access non-covered reproductive health care if the intent is to sell, offer for sale, or receive proceeds from a sale resulting from an ART procedure.

Q10:

What if my Unit Commander denies my request?

A:

Service members whose requests for an administrative absence to access non-covered reproductive health care are denied may appeal their request in accordance with applicable Military Service policy.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024
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