Dear Dr. Elnahal,
We greatly appreciate the Department of Veteran Affairs’ historic efforts to ensure that veterans and their dependents have access to the essential reproductive healthcare they need. We applaud the VA’s move to protect veterans’ access to abortion care especially during this critical time where abortion rights are being stripped.
The Veteran Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated health care system in the country serving approximately 6.5 million veterans and their dependents annually and women are the fastest growing group in the veteran population. Unattainable access to abortion care creates hardships for many veterans, particularly women of reproductive age and their families, due to out-of-pocket costs associated with noncovered abortions, and career impacts related to unwanted pregnancies, meaning, women are being forced to choose between the advancement of their careers and giving birth.
As moms, dads, caretakers, and people who love someone who may one day need an abortion, it is critical that the VA take action to further protect the reproductive rights of veterans and their families. We implore you to take immediate action to drop the severe restrictions around the narrow circumstance in which abortion care can be provided so that veterans and their families can have complete and full access to abortion care services, post-procedure counseling, equitable and competent reproductive healthcare!