Significant changes have been made to Coast Guard policies to help ensure service members and their families can access reproductive health care.
The changes are contained in the Pregnancy in the Coast Guard manual (COMDTINST 1000.9) and the Military Assignments and Authorized Absences manual (COMDTINST M1000.8A), and will align across the armed forces.
Here are the primary revisions:
- You now have 20 weeks to notify Command about your pregnancy
The notification period that a pregnant person must inform their command is now extended to 20 weeks, rather than the previous 12-week requirement. Their health care provider may place the pregnant member in (1) a non-pregnancy-specific temporary non-deployable status, (2) limited duty status, and/or (3) a ligh- duty status with limitations.
Members may be required to notify their commands sooner than 20 weeks if:
- They are working in conditions that may be hazardous to their pregnancy,
- If the command has pre-identified their position as having occupational health hazards that would risk mission accomplishment, or
- If the development of any acute medical conditions would interfere with the member’s duties.
These exceptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the clinic’s senior health services officer. The absolute minimum amount of information necessary will be disclosed to the command.
Also, since pregnancy testing is a part of health screenings before deployment, during certain jobs and specific trainings—those results will not be sent automatically to commands. The medical professionals will now consult with the member to determine the best course of action. The same applies to pregnancies confirmed after members are deployed or underway—they will be consulted by the medical professional. At that point, the provider will place the member on a temporary, non-deployable status with limitations without making any references to the person’s pregnancy.
- Administrative absences now granted for non-covered reproductive care.
Members are now able to take an administrative absence for up to 21 days per request from their duty stations to receive or accompany a dependent or a dual-military spouse to a non-covered reproductive health care appointment without loss of pay or earned leave. Although the administrative absence should be granted regardless of the distance of the care, any member using available travel entitlements would no longer qualify to receive the administrative absence. All requests for this type of absence may require the member to provide minimal information to the command.
Convalescent leave may also be granted while recovering after receiving non-covered reproductive health care based on the medical provider’s recommendation. Here are the types of health services identified as non-covered reproductive health care:
- Non-covered abortion. A medical or surgical abortion that is not covered by TRICARE.
- Assisted reproductive technology. Includes ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval (includes medicines and processing and utilization for assisted reproductive technology (ART) or cryopreservation. This also includes sperm collection and processing for ART or cryopreservation; intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, gamete intrafallopian transfer, zygote intrafallopian transfer, pronuclear stage tubal transfer, tubal embryo transfer and frozen embryo transfer).
- Travel for non-covered reproductive care now covered. Members and their authorized dependents may be eligible for travel allowances to receive non-covered reproductive health care services. This could be granted when timely access to such services is not available in the vicinity of the member’s duty station. The allowance only covers the travel involved and not the care needed. Also, the process for requesting travel entitlements will be outlined in future messaging.
Details of the reproductive health care changes referenced above can be found in the Update to Reproductive Health Care ALCOAST 087/23. Email the Office of Military Personnel Policy (CG-133) any questions about the information in the ALCOAST.