AG Coalition Supports VA Abortion Services Rule Change

  • A multistate coalition of 23 AGs, led by California AG Rob Bonta, sent a letter to Under Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Dr. Shereef Elnahal “enthusiastically supporting” an interim final rule titled “Improving Access to Abortion and Abortion Counseling for Veterans and CHAMPVA Beneficiaries.” The rule would permit medical benefits packages provided by the VA and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) to provide abortion counseling for all pregnancies, as well as to provide abortion services in situations where the patient’s life or health is threatened and in cases of self-reported rape or incest.
  • In the letter, the AGs note that, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, the number of patients crossing state lines seeking legal abortions would continue to increase, straining healthcare resources. The AGs then emphasized the importance of the availability of counseling and abortion services for veterans, particularly because they have higher rates of chronic conditions that may increase health risks associated with pregnancy.
  • The AGs also applauded the rule’s inclusion of the provision of abortion services in life-threatening situations; in cases of self-reported rape or incest; and provision of abortion counseling given the mental health and sexual violence issues faced by veterans in particular.