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VA secretary says agency looking at abortion services for female vets

​T​he secretary of Veterans Affairs said on Sunday​ that his department is looking at providing abortion access to veterans in states that restrict or ban the procedure​​.

​Denis McDonough said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that there are about 300,000 female veterans of childbearing age that rely on the VA for health and reproductive care.​

“​We’re going to make sure that they have access to the full slate of that care, because that’s what we owe them​,” McDonough said. 

The question was prompted by a letter 24 Democratic senators sent to McDonough last week that stated the VA has statutory authority to “provide abortions and abortion-related services and resources” after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. 

Following the decision, a number of states quickly enacted laws banning abortion or severely restricting its use.

“We’re looking expressly at these questions about how we guarantee the life and the health of our veterans — our women veterans — those 300,000 who rely on us for their care,” McDonough told host Jake Tapper.​

“​I don’t have any announcements to make on that this morning, Jake. But we’re looking very closely at that to ensure that there’s no diminution and no reduction of services to them and no risk to their — to their lives as a result of these decisions​,” McDonough said. 

There are about 300,000 female veterans of childbearing age that rely on the VA for health and reproductive care.​
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
People protest after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito.
The VA has statutory authority to “provide abortions and abortion-related services and resources” after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. 
Yana Paskova/REUTERS

He was asked if his preference was to have the services provided at VA hospitals in the states restricting abortion.

​​”​My preference is that they not face risks to their lives as a result of this decision from the court. We’re going to make sure that we’re in a position to take care of that​,” McDonough said. 

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