fbpx
 
Air Force maternity uniform. Courtesy Air Force Times

WASHINGTON — After hearing from military women around the country who were struggling with the cost and availability of military maternity uniforms, Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM-01) introduced a bill to help alleviate the problem.

Haaland, one of the first American Indian women to serve in Congress, introduced the “Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act” as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed the House of Representatives in late June with bipartisan support.

Under the “Rent the Camo” pilot program, pregnant military service members will be able to access maternity uniforms and related items at no cost. The uniforms are free of toxic chemicals that may harm the baby or mother.

“Women deserve to have long successful careers in the military, but right now the cost of paying for maternity clothes is another unfair barrier women have to overcome to pursue their careers,” Haaland said.

A recent report from the U.S. Government and Accountability Office found that pregnancy and childcare are some of the top reasons women say they left the service.

“When I was growing up, my mother was forced out of the Navy because she was pregnant, and though times have changed mothers are still being forced out of the military through more covert barriers,” Haaland said.

“We came up with a creative solution that will ensure women in the military don’t have extra burdens to bear when bringing children into the world, ultimately leading to more equity in the military, all while ensuring military uniforms are made to keep moms and babies safe from harmful chemicals,” Haaland continued.

Rent the Camo: Access to Maternity Wear Act that was included in the NDAA specifically:

  • Directs the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), in coordination with the Secretaries concerned, to carry out a pilot program under which each Secretary concerned will establish an office for issuing maternity-related uniform items to pregnant members of the Armed Forces on a temporary basis and at no cost to the member.
  • Ensures there is a healthy stock-level of maternity-related uniform items, including service uniforms, utility uniforms, and other items relating to command and duty assignment.
  • Demands that maternity uniforms are not treated with the chemical permethrin.
  • Gives Secretaries and Directors the flexibility to execute the pilot program based on their unique individual Service needs to include timelines, number of items being issued, and development of further guidance, etc.
  • Requires inspection, processing, repairing, cleaning and re-stocking returned items before re-issuance.
  • Requires the Director of DLA, in coordination with the Secretaries, to submit a report to the Congressional defense committees including an overview of the costs associated with, and any savings realized by, the pilot program including a comparison of the cost of maintaining a stock of maternity-related uniform item for issuance, recommendations on continuance of the program, whether legislation is needed to extend the program, and any other matters the Secretary of Defense deems appropriate by Sept 30, 2025.
  • Provides $10,000,000 to implement the pilot program.

More Stories Like This

House Passes Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Deal; How Native American Members of Congress Voted
History Made as First Navajo Appointed U.S. Federal Judge in California
California Bill Aims to Increase State Funding for Tribal Housing
Navajo Nation Leaders Recognized the Fallen on Memorial Day
This Day in History — May 28, 1830, Andrew Jackson Signs Indian Removal Act

Native News is free to read.

We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps.  Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected].