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Announcing pregnancies delayed

New Department of the Air Force guidance implementing DoD policies includes delaying pregnancy announcements. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) - The Department of the Air Force issued guidance effective Feb. 27 implementing Department of Defense policies outlining privacy of command notification of pregnancy, administrative absence for non-covered reproductive health care and unit-funded travel for those seeking non-covered reproductive health care. 
Non-covered reproductive health care is defined in this policy as lawfully available, assisted reproductive technology and non-covered abortions. 
These updated policies are intended to assist members who may need to travel greater distances, take more time away from work and pay higher out-of-pocket expenses to access non-covered reproductive health care because of their specific duty location. 
DAF policy changes eliminate routine pregnancy notification to commanders for the entire pregnancy, an extension of DoD policy which delays notification up to 20 weeks gestation. Previously, commanders were notified of a member's pregnancy when they received a profile which specified "pregnancy." Under the new policy, a profile for the entire pregnancy is labeled as "medical" and reflects any necessary deployment, assignment and duty limitations as determined by the member's primary care or women's health provider and public health. 
The new profile provides privacy for members and ensures commanders exercise objectivity and discretion when handling reproductive health care information. 
Additionally, all pregnant service members should seek prenatal care by 12 weeks gestation to obtain proper care, appropriate duty restrictions and occupational health counseling. 
Updated administrative leave policy allows service members to request an administrative absence without being charged leave to access non-covered reproductive health care. Airmen and guardians will request the administrative absence through LeaveWeb. The system now has the capability for the member to select "Non-covered Reproductive Health Care" from the permissive Temporary Duty list and submit the request to their commander for approval. They should include an attestation that they have a valid medical condition that meets the requirements for this type of leave. 
Changes to pre-existing travel reimbursement policy establish travel and transportation allowances for service members and dependents who must travel to access timely non-covered reproductive health care that is not available within the local area of the member's permanent or temporary duty location. Service members' organizations will create a line of accounting within Defense Travel System using Emergency and Special Project Code 83. DTS will have the capability of tracking utilization and reimbursement of travel benefits. 
FAQs can be found here.
For further information, see the Air Force Medical Service Reproductive Health Care website.

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