Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., will introduce legislation Tuesday to expand fertility coverage for female veterans and severely wounded service members, to include options such as surrogate pregnancies and advanced reproductive health services for those unable to bear children naturally.
The proposed Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvement Act of 2012 is designed to strengthen Veterans Affairs Department programs for female veterans and severely injured veterans who want to start families, according to a release from Murrays office.
The Defense Department and Tricare cover some fertility treatments for severely injured troops; the new legislation would expand VA services, including offering treatment to the spouses of qualifying wounded veterans.
The legislation would expand research into the long-term reproductive health care needs of veterans and create a pilot program to provide child care to veterans seeking counseling at VAs 300 Vet Centers, which offer counseling services, outreach and referrals.
The bill also would direct VA to improve outreach to female veterans by allowing VAs Women Veterans Call Center to take incoming calls.
Between 2001 and November 2011, 1,205 service members sustained one or more injuries to their genitourinary systems in combat. The average casualty age was 26 years old, according to the Joint Theater Trauma Registry.
Murray, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, will introduce the legislation tomorrow at 2:30 on Capitol Hill, prior to the screening of a new documentary SERVICE: When Women Come Marching Home, a film focusing on the challenges women face after serving in the U.S. military.
The screening is co-hosted by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Murrays office did not provide an estimated cost of the proposed legislation.
Article: 18th June 2012 www.navytimes.com
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