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Biden Administration Expands Abortion Rights Through Veterans Affairs

© AFP 2022 / SAUL LOEBUS President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC
US President Joe Biden speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.09.2022
Americans turned to the Biden Administration following the Supreme Court’s controversial decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, striking down a 50-year precedent to protect a person’s right to an abortion. In July, the Biden Administration signed an executive order in a modest attempt to safeguard reproductive health.
On Friday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that they will begin to offer pregnant veterans and beneficiaries abortion counseling as well as abortions in the case of rape, incest, or if the health of the pregnant person’s life is at risk.
Veterans who are seeking counseling for their reproductive health will be able to do so across the country, even in the 15 states with the strictest abortion laws that do not allow for abortion access even in the case of incest or rape, including: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The move to protect more Americans through the VA comes as President Joe Biden continues to make whatever small steps he can towards protecting Americans’ reproductive health freedoms in the wake of the conservative-majority Supreme Court overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in late June.
“This is a patient safety decision,” said Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “Pregnant Veterans and VA beneficiaries deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most. That’s what our nation owes them, and that’s what we at VA will deliver.”
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during an event September 2, 2022 in Washington, DC - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.09.2022
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The VA announced in their ruling that beneficiaries who are enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) will also have access to abortion care under this rule.
“We came to this decision after listening to VA health care providers and Veterans across the country, who sounded the alarm that abortion restrictions are creating a medical emergency for those we serve. Offering this care will save Veterans’ health and lives, and there is nothing more important than that,” added Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the VA’s Under Secretary for Health.
The VA will also accept self-reporting by a victim of rape or incest as “sufficient evidence” for abortion access, unlike some states that may require the assault to be submitted to law enforcement before the victim is able to seek abortion care.
The Pentagon also announced in June that active service members and other Defense Department health care beneficiaries will continue having access to abortion care despite the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The VA’s rule will be open for public comment for 30 days once it goes into effect.
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