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Following Hickenlooper and Bennet’s Call, Department of Veterans Affairs To Begin Providing Access to Abortion Services

Sep 4, 2022

VA Plans To Provide Abortion Services to Veterans and Their Dependents In Certain Situations; Lawmakers Urge The Agency to Provide Services Regardless of Circumstance

Denver – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet applauded an announcement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that it will provide access to abortion and abortion services to veterans and eligible dependents in cases of rape and incest, or when the life of the woman is at risk. In July, Bennet, Hickenlooper, and a group of their colleagues urged the agency to allow the Veterans Health Administration to provide abortions. 

“Abortion is essential health care and we’ll continue urging the VA to expand care to all who need it. This is an important step to expand access to veterans and their beneficiaries,” said Hickenlooper.

“The VA’s decision to offer abortion services to veterans and their dependents is significant. I’ll keep pushing the agency to provide these services to all veterans, regardless of circumstance,” said Bennet.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Hickenlooper and Bennet remain committed to protecting access to reproductive rights. In August, Bennet and Hickenlooper introduced legislation to eliminate copayments for contraception covered by the VA. Bennet, Hickenlooper, and their Democratic colleagues attempted to pass a bill to protect doctors providing legal abortion care to out-of-state patients, but Senate Republicans blocked its passage. The lawmakers also introduced and attempted to pass legislation to protect the right of individuals to cross state lines for reproductive health care, but Senate Republicans blocked its passage as well.Bennet and Hickenlooper spoke on the Senate floor in support of this effort. 

Bennet and Hickenlooper also introduced legislation to protect and improve access to critical reproductive health care services such as birth control, cancer screenings, and other treatments by providing a strong and consistent funding source for the Title X Family Planning Program. Bennet and U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) called on the Biden Administration to update the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect the privacy of patients who receive abortions from law enforcement agencies. In June, Bennet and Hickenlooper joined their colleagues in urging the Department of Defense (DoD) to take immediate steps to support and protect service members seeking abortion services following the Supreme Court’s dangerous and deeply harmful decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Bennet and Hickenlooper also joined their colleagues to push President Joe Biden to pursue “bold action” to protect the right to abortion.

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