The VA performs the first weeks of abortion after saying it will in certain cases

The Veterans Affairs Medical System performed its first abortion, weeks after declaring a temporary final rule allowing it to provide the service in cases of incest, rape, or when a woman’s life was in danger.

Dennis McDonough, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, told senators Wednesday night that the operation was performed at a Virginia courthouse medical center. A spokesperson, citing customer privacy, declined to provide the location or give further details.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has not provided abortion services before, but after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and struck down constitutional abortion rights, the department said it believes it is “essential” to the lives and health of veterans and victims’ assistance recipients that they can still access it for operations. Medically necessary abortion.

McDonough said in new version The provision of the service was a “patient safety decision”.

“Veterans and Veterans’ Assistance recipients deserve world-class reproductive care when they need it most. That’s what our nation owes them, and that’s what we’re going to deliver in Virginia.”

Dr. Sherif Al-Nahal, Undersecretary for Health Affairs, said the Department of Veterans Affairs reached its decision after listening to health care providers and veterans.

“Providing this care will save the health and lives of the veterans, and nothing is more important than that,” Al-Nahhal said in a statement.

In addition to abortions, the Department of Veterans Affairs will also provide abortion counseling. Both changes apply to eligible dependents enrolled in the agency’s Civil Health and Medical Program, or CHAMPVA.

The June Supreme Court ruling prompted many states to move forward with laws that ban abortion entirely or severely restrict it when it can occur. The Department of Veterans Affairs said its health care providers will be able to provide authorized services regardless of state restrictions.

Decisions about whether the “life or health” of a pregnant woman is at risk will be made on a case-by-case basis by VA health care providers in consultation with patients. The agency said the Department of Veterans Affairs would consider self-reporting of rape or incest as sufficient evidence.

The Department of Veterans Affairs excluded abortion coverage when it created the Medicaid benefits package in 1999. The agency, which did not provide an explanation at the time, said in background information provided this month that it was aware that veterans in its health care system “have access to abortions.” services in their communities.” Following Dobbs’ decision in June, this was no longer the case nationwide, prompting the agency to create exceptions to rule them out.

Adele Kaplan Contributed.

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