find out about Amid struggle in opposition to abortion, Home Democrats need to hear from veterans on reproductive well being care
Home Democrats are amassing feedback from veterans on reproductive well being care on the Division of Veterans Affairs within the newest salvo from Congress on abortion rights.
In a press launch Thursday afternoon, Democrats on the Home Veterans Affairs Committee introduced a brand new “effort” on entry to reproductive well being take care of veterans.
The initiative to this point has included a number of visits to VA services and veterans organizations. and listening periods by committee members and employees in Texas and Oklahoma, based on the information launch. Each states have principally banned abortion within the wake of a Supreme Court docket ruling that struck down abortion rights throughout the nation.
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It is unclear what the committee plans to do with the data it is amassing, together with whether or not lawmakers will concern a report or introduce new laws, with committee spokesman Miguel Salazar saying solely that “we’ve plans, however we’re not on the “. [to] start to be extensively distributed.
“At this level, we’re targeted on persevering with to collect data and listen to from veterans throughout the nation,” Salazar stated in an electronic mail.
Posts on the committee’s Twitter account present well being subcommittee chair Julia Brownley, D-Calif., and different committee members holding conferences at Dallas, houston, Austin Y oklahoma metropolis earlier this month.
“With out clear, state-specific steering from the VA, suppliers at VA medical services face large uncertainty and are pissed off by restricted authority and restrictions that restrict their skill to supply the perfect take care of veterans.” Brownley stated in an connected assertion. within the press launch. “Because the assault on reproductive rights will increase and the precise to bodily autonomy continues to be threatened, veterans are rightfully anxious and emotionally distressed about the way forward for their reproductive care.”
The committee additionally printed a survey in your web site to gather data from veterans about their experiences with reproductive well being care on the VA.
The survey had a “gentle” launch in late July and has already obtained some responses, a committee spokesman informed Army.com, with out offering a quantity.
It is unclear what different actions could also be a part of the trouble, together with the place else the committee might conduct web site visits and whether or not there will likely be public hearings, although Salazar promised “we plan to proceed to be energetic on this concern by the autumn.”
Brownley, who additionally chairs the Ladies Veterans Job Drive, launched a invoice final yr to require the VA to supply abortion counseling to veterans with undesirable pregnancies.
The committee’s newest effort comes amid a broader Democratic push on abortion entry for service members and veterans after the Supreme Court docket’s June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Ladies’s Well being Group, which overturned the 50-year precedent of Roe v. Wade that assured the precise to abortion all through the nation. .
Within the wake of the ruling, almost two dozen states have moved to ban or severely limit abortion entry, although some courts have quickly blocked enforcement of their bans.
The Democratic push additionally comes forward of the November midterm elections, wherein Democrats hope to harness opposition to the Supreme Court docket ruling to defy expectations that they’ll lose management of at the very least the Home. Democrats have spent about $31.9 million on adverts speaking about abortion for the reason that ruling, based on The New York Occasions.
The VA doesn’t typically present abortions or abortion counseling, with some exceptions when the lifetime of the mom is in danger as a result of being pregnant. That is extra restrictive than the Protection Division, which permits abortions in instances of rape and incest in addition to when the mom’s life is at risk.
Final month, VA Secretary Denis McDonough stated the division is “intently watching” states’ actions to find out whether or not it would take steps to supply abortions to veteran sufferers. He argued that the legislation doesn’t prohibit the division from protecting abortions, however as a result of the process will not be included within the medical advantages bundle, the VA must undergo the prolonged formal federal rulemaking course of to supply them.
Republicans have taken concern with the VA’s interpretation of the legislation, saying the Veterans’ Well being Care Act of 1992 prohibits the VA from performing abortions. That legislation directed the VA to supply reproductive well being care, apart from “infertility providers, abortions, or being pregnant care,” except that care is required due to a service-connected situation.
After McDonough’s feedback, 25 Senate Democrats wrote him a letter urging him to “urgently start crafting guidelines to permit veterans and eligible dependents to obtain abortions and all abortion-related providers.”
“We maintain that VA has the authorized authority and discretion to supply abortions and abortion-related providers and assets,” they wrote. “Importantly, the VA has used its authority underneath the Veterans Well being Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 to supply reproductive care, corresponding to being pregnant care and infertility providers, although such care was initially excluded from the well being care packages permitted by the Veterans Well being Care Act of 1992.”
— Rebecca Kheel may be reached at [email protected]. Comply with her on Twitter @reporterkeel.
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