VA plans abortion access, counseling to veterans

WAFF's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:42 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - New laws in Alabama mean virtually all abortions are illegal, but some veterans may be able to access that service soon due to federal rules.

In September, the Department of Veterans Affairs submitted to the Federal Register an interim final rule that will allow it to provide access to abortions to veterans and their beneficiaries in cases when the pregnant woman’s life or health is at risk or in cases of rape or incest.

It will also provide abortion counseling. This is the first time abortion services will be offered by the VA.

According to officials with the VA, these services will be authorized immediately after the interim final rule is published. The rule will be available for public comment for 30 days thereafter.

WAFF 48 reached out to the VA for comment. VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes sent a statement saying the following:

“In the matter of women’s reproductive health, this is a patient safety decision. Pregnant Veterans and VA beneficiaries deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most. That’s what our nation owes them, and that’s what we at VA will deliver.”

“We came to this decision after listening to VA health care providers and Veterans across the country, who sounded the alarm that abortion restrictions are creating a medical emergency for those we serve,” he added.

Once the rule is published, the VA says it will immediately prepare to provide these services in as many locations as possible.

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