Larsen Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Help Disabled Veterans Start Families

Mar 5, 2013 Issues: Health Care, Veterans

WASHINGTON—Veterans who cannot conceive children because of injuries they sustained in military service will be able to get advanced fertility treatments and adoption assistance if Congress passes a bipartisan bill introduced today by Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02. The Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013 would give veterans with service-connected disabilities access to in vitro fertilization and adoption assistance. It would also expand services specifically designed for the care of women veterans.

“Disabled veterans have already paid too high a price in service to our nation. They should not have to pay a higher cost to start a family,” Larsen said. “Too many veterans are returning home with injuries that make conceiving children impossible without assistance. Veterans deserve access to advanced fertility treatment and adoption assistance so they can achieve their dreams of starting families.”

The Department of Defense already covers in vitro fertilization for active duty service members and retirees, but the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not provide the coverage for veterans.

“This bill also improves VA services for women veterans,” Larsen added. “As more women will be serving in direct combat roles, these improvements are all the more necessary to make sure the VA is meeting the needs of all our veterans.”

Passage of this bill is a top priority for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

“We urge all veterans and this Congress to support this piece of legislation and to move it quickly through the legislative process and to the President’s desk,” said Ernie Butler, Executive Director of the Northwest Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “For too long women veterans and catastrophically injured veterans have had to go outside the VA’s health system in order to have children via in vitro practices routinely available, and do so at their own expense.”

The Senate unanimously approved a version of this bill authored by Sen. Patty Murray last year, but the House did not act on the companion legislation that Larsen had introduced before the end of the 112th Congress. Murray reintroduced the Senate version of the bill earlier this year. Larsen and Murray met with paralyzed veterans and their families in Seattle last year to discuss how the bill would impact veterans.

A summary of the bill is available here. A section-by-section breakdown of the bill is available here. The text of the bill is available here.

The following members are original cosponsors of the House bill: Suzanne Bonamici, OR-01, Julia Brownley, CA-26, Robert Brady, PA-01, Judy Chu, CA-27, John Conyers, MI-13, Susan Davis, CA-53, Suzan DelBene, WA-01, Colleen Hanabusa, HI-01, Denny Heck, WA-10, Betty McCollum, MN-04, Grace Napolitano, CA-32, Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC, Louise Slaughter, NY-25, Steve Stivers, OH-15, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, FL-23.