Senate approves Testers bill to increase women veterans health services
Senator’s ‘desperately needed’ bill responds to needs of female service members, veterans
(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the Senate unanimously passed his bill improving female veterans’ health care treatment options. Tester’s bill ends the VA’s ban on providing In vitro fertilization and expands child care options for veterans who seek counseling or other treatment at Vet Centers:
“As the number of women veterans continues to grow, the VA must adapt to meet the specific health needs of women and their families. This bill is one more step toward living up to the promises we made to all veterans so they can lead healthy lives.”
Female service members are increasingly involved in combat operations, and many of them suffer life-changing battlefield injuries – including injuries to their reproductive systems – as a result. But VA fertility treatment services currently fail to meet the needs of severely wounded women veterans who plan to have children.
“As a young, woman veteran I wholeheartedly support Senator Tester’s bill,” said Casey Elder, an Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient. “A woman’s service to her country should not take away her ability to have a child, and the VA can help these families through better assistance with reproductive care and treatment. If our nation is truly committed to supporting the growing number of women veterans, this type of legislation is desperately needed.”
Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 more than 600 women and men suffered reproductive and urinary injuries while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tester’s bill also expands reproductive services for male veterans.
Tester is Montana’s only member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.