Monday, ahead of a vote in the United States Senate on a bipartisan amendment that includes reproductive assistance for injured service members, Wounded Warrior Project is leading a coalition of 12 veteran service organizations to call on the Senate to pass this legislation. The coalition sent a letterto every senator outlining the critical need for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other reproductive coverage for veterans who have sustained combat injuries that have left them unable to conceive a child naturally.
“This is a situation which, in our view, is simply unacceptable. When a man or woman volunteers to serve and suffers injury as a result, it is incumbent on us to make them whole to the extent science will allow,” the coalition wrote. “These men and women want only the very basic right to start a family and move forward with their lives. War took that away from them, and we should not place them in the position of paying tens of thousands of dollars if they want to get it back.”
Led by Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington), the amendment recently passed the Senate Appropriations Committee with strong bipartisan support and will come to the Senate Floor as early as next week as part of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017. Although the Department of Defense currently covers IVF and other reproductive assistance for active military, the Department of Veterans Affairs is barred from providing these services because of an outdated law—a wrong this amendment would correct.
“These veterans have made a tremendous sacrifice for our country, and we owe it to them to have the opportunity to start a family. In addition to the trauma experienced on the battlefield, for many of these brave veterans and their families enduring the stress and anxiety of not knowing whether they can afford costly IVF treatments can be very difficult to bear,” said Sean Foertsch, government and community relations director at WWP. “After years of advocating for this on behalf of our veterans, we’re encouraged that the Senate could soon pass this legislation, but we’ll continue to fight to ensure each senator knows the tremendous impact this would have for thousands of wounded service members.”
As many as 2,000 veterans suffer from injuries related to blasts from the widespread use of improvised explosive devices that have increasingly resulted not only in traumatic amputations of at least one leg, but also in pelvic, abdominal, urogenital, and spinal cord injuries—which in many cases, result in the inability to have children.
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