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AAFSW Supports Access to Reproductive Health in the Foreign Service

In the May issue of the Foreign Service Journal, there was an article by Andrea Capellan, a Foreign Service Officer, about the egregious and at times life-threatening lack of treatment by MED in the area of reproductive health. The article is available to read here.

A dedicated group of officers from State and USAID have been working for about a year to try to get the same access to reproductive health care overseas as they would have at home. A letter was sent to the acting DG with a copy to MED in December 2021. It was only answered by MED in May 2022, after MED had read the article. However, the answer provided no real solutions to the problem.

The group would like to see an Office of Women’s Health established within MED to include an OB/GYN, a victim’s advocate, lawyers and a DS agent. This would ensure swift responses to Medevac appeals on reproductive health issues. A timely response to what may be a routine problem may keep it from becoming life-threatening to mother and unborn child. The group seeks parity with the care available in the States. This is more urgent with the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade.

AAFSW met with the leaders of the group and vowed to help in any way we could. This is a Forum issue for AAFSW. The Forum tackles important issues concerning our Foreign Affairs families. For example, we helped with the reform of SNEA (Special Needs Education Allowance). If you would like to be a part of the Forum group helping with access to reproductive care, please contact Ann La Porta at a_laporta@yahoo.com.