The Department of Veterans Affairs will continue providing abortion services in a latest effort among the health agencies in recent months in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in June.
“VA will be able to offer abortion counseling and abortions to pregnant Veterans and VA beneficiaries in cases of rape, incest, or when the life or health of the Veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term — in accordance with generally accepted standards of medical practice," said VHA Undersecretary Dr. Shereef Elnahal in a press release.
VA affirmed this policy through a submission to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) that “amends its medical regulations to remove the exclusion on abortion counseling and establish exceptions to the exclusion on abortions in the medical benefits package for veterans who receive care.”
The agency has outlined that this commitment falls within its core mission to protect the life and well-being of America’s veterans, including VA’s increasing focus on providing a full scope of reproductive and maternal health care. VA’s recently published statements emphasize that denying counseling and abortion access would be detrimental to this essential responsibility.
“Restricting access to abortion care has well-documented adverse health consequences, including increased risk of loss of future fertility, significant morbidity or death. Veterans are also at greater risk of experiencing pregnancy-related complications due to increased rates of chronic health conditions. Therefore, to protect the life and health of pregnant veterans and eligible beneficiaries, VA determined that it was necessary to provide access to abortion counseling and — in some cases — abortions,” the release said.