Senate votes to cover fertility care for female military service members

Senate Veterans Affair Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2012, S. 3313, which would improve VA services for women veterans and veteran spouses and end the ban on (IVF) services at VA to help severely wounded veterans start families.

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“[Veterans] are told that despite the fact that they’ve made such an extreme sacrifice for our nation we can’t provide them the medical service they need to start a family,” Murray said on the floor Thursday before the measure passed by a voice-vote. “Any service member who sustains this type of injury deserves so much more.”

Murray cited a Pentagon report that showed since 2003, nearly 2,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered pelvic fractures and genitourinary injuries that could affect their abilities to reproduce.

Murray said the Department of Defense currently provides access to IVF services and coverage at no charge to severely combat wounded service members. Murray’s bill would provide veterans with the same access through TRICARE, the military healthcare system.

The bill now heads to the House for further action.

Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) co-sponsored the bill.