Reproductive Healthcare for Veterans: Larsen Urges Swift Implementation of In Vitro Fertilization Benefit

Nov 21, 2016 Issues: Health Care, Veterans

WASHINGTON, DC–-Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), along with Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and Julia Brownley (CA-26), today led a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald urging swift adoption of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for veterans who suffer from infertility due to service-connected injuries – a new benefit made available thanks to legislation Larsen helped pass in September.

“After years of fighting to provide reproductive healthcare for wounded veterans who dream of becoming parents, earlier this year we successfully passed a provision to circumvent the 1992 ban on in vitro fertilization services for veterans,” said Larsen, a senior member on the House Armed Services Committee. “I will continue fighting to ensure swift implementation of the healthcare to which veterans are now entitled and for a permanent repeal of the ban.”

For years Larsen has been the House of Representatives’ leading voice for expanding reproductive care for veterans. In last year’s Veterans Affairs spending bill Larsen pushed the Department to analyze the prevalence of infertility among veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, in April of this year the agency announced that IVF treatment is consistent with its goal to support veterans and improve their quality of life – meaning that Congress has been the final barrier between affected veterans and the healthcare they need to start families.

In September Larsen helped pass a provision – which was originally included in the Senate version of the bill by Senator Murray (D-WA) – in the Congressional spending bill to provide in vitro fertilization services for veterans for the first time since the 1992 ban was enacted. Because this provision was passed as part of a larger annual spending package – the prohibition will go back into effect at the end of the fiscal year unless additional action is taken. Larsen has vowed to continue his efforts to fight for a full and permanent repeal of the IVF ban.

The bipartisan letter has been signed by 46 Members of Congress.

The following groups have endorsed the letter: American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, AMVETS, American Urological Association, Blue Star Families, Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Military Family Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Quality of Life Foundation, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, Service Women’s Action Network, The Veterans Health Council, Vietnam Veterans of America, Wounded Warrior Project.