find out about Amid struggle towards abortion, Home Democrats need to hear from veterans on reproductive well being care
Home Democrats are accumulating suggestions from veterans on reproductive well being care within 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 look after veterans.
To this point, the initiative 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.
It is unclear what the committee plans to do with the data it is accumulating, together with whether or not lawmakers will difficulty a report or introduce new laws, with committee spokesman Miguel Salazar saying solely that “now we have plans, however we’re not on the “. [to] start to be broadly distributed.
“At this level, we’re targeted on persevering with to assemble data and listen to from veterans throughout the nation,” Salazar mentioned 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 steerage from the VA, suppliers at VA medical services face great uncertainty and are pissed off by restricted authority and restrictions that restrict their capability to supply the perfect look after veterans.” Brownley mentioned in an connected assertion. within the press launch. “Because the assault on reproductive rights will increase and the proper 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 revealed 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 “mushy” launch in late July and has already acquired some responses, a committee spokesman advised 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 website visits and whether or not there can be public hearings, although Salazar promised “we plan to proceed to be energetic on this difficulty via the autumn.”
Brownley, who additionally chairs the Ladies Veterans Job Pressure, launched a invoice final 12 months to require the VA to supply abortion counseling to veterans with undesirable pregnancies.
The committee’s newest effort comes amid a broader Democratic push in 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 proper to abortion all through the nation.
Within the wake of the ruling, almost two dozen states have moved to ban or severely prohibit abortion entry, although some courts have briefly blocked enforcement of their bans.
The Democratic push additionally comes forward of the November midterm elections, by which Democrats hope to harness opposition to the Supreme Court docket ruling to defy expectations that they are going to lose management of at the least the Home. Democrats have spent about $31.9 million on advertisements 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 mentioned the division is “intently watching” actions by states to decide whether or not to take motion 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 package deal, the VA must undergo the prolonged formal federal rulemaking course of to supply them.
Republicans have taken difficulty 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,” until 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 sources,” they wrote. “Importantly, the VA has used its authority below the Veterans Well being Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996 to supply reproductive care, comparable to being pregnant care and infertility providers, despite the fact that such care was initially excluded from the well being care packages permitted by the Veterans Well being Care Act of 1992.”
— Rebecca Kheel will be reached at [email protected]. Observe her on Twitter @reporterkeel.
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