Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act (H.R. 239), legislation to provide women veterans access to access to contraceptive care without co-pays, which civilian and active-duty women already receive.
“Choosing when, or if, to have a family, is essential to women’s health and to their economic security. The Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act is another step toward ensuring all women have access to comprehensive contraceptive and reproductive healthcare,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “As Chairwoman of the Women Veterans Task Force, I am committed to identifying disparities in healthcare for women veterans and, where necessary, to introduce, advocate, and pass legislation that addresses those gaps. After House Republicans’ attempt to kill this bill last week, House Democrats stepped up to ensure the voices of our women veterans are heard. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country, it is past time we ensure all veterans have equal access to healthcare, including contraceptive care. We owe them nothing less.”
Women veterans make up the fastest growing group of veterans enrolling in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. Yet, many of their health needs go unaddressed in a VA healthcare system that has not evolved to equitably serve a changing population. This includes accessing basic contraceptive services without a co-pay.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all women using civilian health insurance may access basic contraceptive services without a co-pay. Active-duty servicemembers also have access to contraception without co-pays through TRICARE. Unfortunately, women veterans using VA healthcare are currently denied this access.
The benefits of contraception are widely recognized and eliminating cost-sharing barriers can greatly improve access to the full-range of contraception and related counseling that improves women’s health.
Read the full text of the bill, here.