WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined 24 of her Senate colleagues in a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough calling for immediate administrative action to allow veterans and their eligible dependents to access abortion care and all related services through the VA. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, over 800,000 women veterans—roughly half of all women veterans in this country—live in states that are certain or likely to ban abortion.
“Last month’s disastrous Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned the nearly fifty-year precedent established by Roe v. Wade and removed constitutional protection for abortion access from millions of individuals in this country, including an ever-growing number of veterans and dependents who are able to become pregnant,” wrote the Senators. “This decision makes it even more critical that veterans receive access to the reproductive care to which they are entitled. Thus, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must urgently begin rulemaking to allow veterans and eligible dependents to receive abortions and all abortion-related services.”
“We contend that the VA has the statutory authority and discretion to provide abortions and abortion-related services and resources,” the Senators continued. “The VA’s authority to provide care to veterans is established in the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996. That statute provides that the VA Secretary ‘shall furnish hospital care and medical services which the Secretary determines to be needed’ to certain veterans. Importantly, the VA has used its authority under the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 to provide reproductive care such as pregnancy care and infertility services, even though such care was initially excluded from the health care packages allowed under the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992.”
The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.