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“I’m working to ensure we protect veterans’ rights to essential health care…We trust these women to make critical decisions in the line of duty to protect our national security. So why don’t extremists on the right trust them to make decisions about their own bodies?”
“There are 550,000 women veterans who get their health care through the VA…That’s why the VA’s new rule is so critical to protecting veterans’ health and why extremist Republicans’ attacks on reproductive care are so dangerous.”
Washington, D.C. – On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) called out far-right Republicans’ resolution to prevent women veterans and their families from accessing essential abortion care in the case of life-threatening emergency, rape, or incest.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a fierce advocate for women’s reproductive rights. After the Supreme Court decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, the senator introduced the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act of 2022, legislation that would ensure legal protections for women traveling across state lines to receive reproductive care. She recently urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect the data privacy of women seeking reproductive health care and called out Walgreens after the company announced plans to not dispense the abortion pill in some states where abortion remains legal.
Below are her remarks as delivered:
Madam President, I’m joining my colleagues today to speak out against far-right Republicans’ harmful and frankly insulting resolution to prevent women veterans from accessing essential health care.
Our veterans stepped up to serve our country, putting their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and keep our families safe. We owe them a debt of gratitude, and that’s why I’m working to ensure we protect veterans’ rights to essential health care.
We trust these women to make critical decisions in the line of duty to protect our national security. So why don’t extremists on the right trust them to make decisions about their own bodies?
The purpose of the VA is to protect veterans’ health and lives. Since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, my colleagues and I pushed the administration, including the VA, to take action to protect women veterans’ access to abortion care.
At our urging, the VA created a rule to provide abortion counseling to pregnant veterans as well as abortion services in the limited cases of rape, incest, or the life or health of the mother. This is critical for women veterans, especially those who live in states with strict abortion bans and no access to care in their communities.
But we knew that after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, anti-choice policymakers wouldn’t stop trying to take away a woman’s right to choose. And now, they’re going after the health and wellbeing of the women who fought for our country.
There are 550,000 women veterans who get their health care through the VA. 300,000 of those women veterans are at a point in their lives at which they may need reproductive care. That’s 300,000 women who have sacrificed for our country, and who – according to extremist Republicans – don’t deserve to make their own health care decisions.
Some of these women veterans live in states where they can access reproductive care outside the VA. But over 155,000 of them live in states with harsh abortion restrictions on the books. I’m leading legislation to ensure our veterans and all women maintain their right to travel to pro-choice states to get the care they need. Unfortunately, for many of these women, the VA is their only option for accessing abortion care.
That’s why the VA’s new rule is so critical to protecting veterans’ health and why extremist Republicans’ attacks on reproductive care are so dangerous. Women veterans put their lives on the line to fight for our freedoms, including control of our own bodies, lives, and futures. Now, the far-right wants to take those freedoms away. We cannot let their resolution pass.