Sep 2, 2022 - Health

VA to offer abortion to pregnant veterans in some cases

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough delivers a speech.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough delivers a speech. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday it plans to provide abortions in cases of rape, incest and when birth may present a danger to a woman's health — "regardless of state restrictions."

The big picture: The VA said the change was necessary after dozens of states banned the procedure earlier this summer once the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Driving the news: The department submitted an interim rule to the Federal Register Thursday night that will allow abortion access on federal property in some cases, even in states that ban the procedure.

  • VA health care providers can also coordinate abortions with private medical offices in states where abortion is still allowed.
  • Providers can also offer to counsel pregnant veterans and eligible beneficiaries.

Zoom in: The VA said it will make a determination on a case-by-case basis on the necessity of abortion based on "careful consultation between VA health care providers and the Veterans they serve."

  • For cases of rape or incest, the VA will use self-reporting from a veteran or beneficiary.

What they're saying: "Pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most," VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. "That’s what our nation owes them, and that's what we at VA will deliver."

  • The department said these abortions are "essential for preserving the life and health of Veterans and VA beneficiaries."

Flashback: The department said in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court's decision that it had no plans to increase services or provide travel access to help women get the procedure, per the Military Times.

Go deeper: Where abortion has been banned now that Roe v. Wade is overturned

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