Unplanned Pregnancy in the Military

January 29, 2013

Public Policy


A recent report indicates that unintended pregnancies (i.e. those that weren't planned), are on the rise among women in the military and are greater for these women than among women in general. The report offers a few reasons why this might be the case: fear that others will find out they are having sex; lack of access to all methods of contraception (perhaps longer acting methods in particular); and sexual assault. While the comments on the article might lead you to believe that unintended pregnancy in the military is inevitable, plenty of research would suggest that is just not the case. In fact, it turns out that if you give women access to both correct information and the full range of contraceptive methods, then fewer women end up getting pregnant when they don't want to be.

How do you think the military can decrease high rates of unplanned pregnancy? I'm going to start the conversation by saying that removing women from the military isn't a likely option...

Authored by: Katy Suellentrop

Katy is the Vice President of Programs at The National Campaign.  In her capacity as Vice President of Programs, Katy is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of projects that include providing training and technical assistance to organizations working to address teen and unplanned pregnancy at the state and community level; working with colleges (including 2 year colleges) to increase their capacity to address unplanned pregnancy with their students, particularly those age 18-21; working with child welfare agencies to implement strategies to address teen and unplanned pregnancy; engaging family and juvenile court judges in work to address teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention; and enabling early innovation in teen pregnancy prevention. Her favorite part of the job is helping people connect the dots and try something new to address teen and unplanned pregnancy in their communities.  She’s also a research geek and loves sharing new data. 

Katy received her BA from Northwestern University and her MPH from Emory University. Katy lives with her husband Mike and two sons, Liam and Connor, in Arlington.  She usually spends her free time outside with the boys. 

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