Larsen, Murray Renew Push to Expand Access to Reproductive Services for Injured Servicemembers, Veterans, and Their Families
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced bills in the House and Senate to permanently allow the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer reproductive services to veterans with service-connected injuries, repealing a decades-old ban. The Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2017 would also expand the fertility options available to servicemembers through the Department of Defense (DoD), give access to fertility treatment for spouses, allow VA to provide adoption assistance, and make VA’s highly successful child care pilot program permanent.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of servicemembers suffered genitourinary, blast, spinal and brain injuries that left them unable to conceive naturally, but VA was unable to cover the costs of certain fertility services because of a ban Congress passed in 1992. Murray and Larsen have for years led the fight to overturn the ban on IVF services, and last year Senator Murray secured a provision in the MilCon-VA Appropriations bill that gives VA the authority to provide assisted reproductive technology, of which IVF is the most common, through fiscal year 2018 but a permanent repeal of the ban is still needed.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs took an important step forward by temporarily offering in vitro fertilization services,” said Rep. Larsen, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee. “But the fight is not over. It is time to lift the ban.”
“When we send our men and women to war, we promise to be there for them when they return, no matter what,” said Senator Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “But for years, servicemembers and veterans who suffered injuries while fighting on our behalf find their country falls short when it comes to helping them with the one thing they want most—the ability to have a child. This bill is our chance to build on the progress we made last year and make clear we are committed to helping our military families, not just for the next two years, but always.”
More information on the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2017 here.