VA Hospitals In Tennessee May Soon Provide Abortions, Counseling For Veterans

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

In response to the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade and Tennessee’s trigger law that went into effect shortly thereafter, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released a new interim rule that they intend to provide abortions and abortion counseling for pregnant veterans and their beneficiaries in cases of rape and incest.

The rule states that the intent is to “preserve the lives and health” of the would-be mothers.

Prior to the submission of the new rule to the Federal Register, VA regulations barred the Veterans Health Administration from providing such services.  In addition, the VA’s insurance for dependents (CHAMPVA) did not cover abortion unless a would-be mother’s life was in danger.

A portion of the rule reads, “After Dobbs, certain States have begun to enforce existing abortion bans and restrictions on care, and are proposing and enacting new ones, creating urgent risks to the lives and health of pregnant veterans and CHAMPVA beneficiaries in these States. In response, VA is acting to help to ensure that, irrespective of what laws or policies States may impose, veterans who receive the care set forth in the medical benefits package will be able to obtain abortions, if determined needed by a health care professional, when the life or the health of the pregnant veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term or the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest. Similarly, VA is acting to ensure CHAMPVA beneficiaries will be able to obtain abortions, if determined medically necessary and appropriate, when the health of the pregnant CHAMPVA beneficiary would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term or the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest. VA is taking this action because it has determined that providing access to abortion-related medical services is needed to protect the lives and health of veterans.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs stated that VA employees may provide authorized services regardless of state restrictions.

Further, the rule states that the VA will not be requiring official evidence of rape or incest to receive an abortion or abortion counseling.  Rather, the regulation states that self-reporting from the pregnant veteran “constitutes sufficient evidence.”

Mainstreet Nashville reports that 50,000 women veterans use VA health care, and more than 400,000 dependents and survivors are enrolled in the CHAMPVA program.

The interim final rule will be effective immediately once published by the Federal Register.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

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