Landmark Women's Reproductive Health Survey Shows Need for Improvements in DoD Reproductive Health Care
Sep 13, 2022
RAND Corporation researchers developed the Women's Reproductive Health Survey to address congressional legislation requiring a survey about access to family planning and counseling services among U.S. Department of Defense active-duty service women. The survey also identifies issues related to reproductive health that may affect the readiness of active-duty service women.
The Women's Reproductive Health Survey (WRHS) of active-duty service members represents the first time since the 1990s that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has sponsored a department-wide survey of only service women. Maintaining the readiness of the U.S. armed forces requires attention to the health and health care needs of all who serve, including active-duty service women (ADSW). With respect to reproductive health, Congress passed two pieces of legislation in the 2016 and 2017 National Defense Authorization Acts that required DoD to provide ADSW access to comprehensive family planning and counseling services and to do so at predeployment and annual physical exams. The legislation also required DoD to conduct a survey of ADSW's experiences with family planning services and counseling and use and availability of preferred birth control methods.
RAND Corporation researchers developed the WRHS to address these two pieces of congressional legislation. The Coast Guard requested that RAND also field the survey among its ADSW. In this report, the authors detail the methodology, sample demographics, and results from the survey (conducted between early August and early November 2020) across a number of domains: health care utilization, birth control and contraceptive use, reproductive health during training and deployment, fertility and pregnancy, and infertility. Differences are examined by service branch, pay grade, age group, race/ethnicity, marital status, and sexual orientation. The results are intended to inform policy initiatives to help support the readiness, health, and well-being of ADSW.
Sociodemographic and Military Characteristics
Health Care Utilization
Birth Control and Contraceptive Use
Reproductive Health During Training, Predeployment, and Deployment
Fertility and Pregnancy
Summary and Policy Implications
Description of Measures
Tables by Demographics (Age Group, Race/Ethnicity, Marital Status, Sexual Orientation)