VA secretary: Department 'looking expressly' at abortion options for veterans in pro-life states

“We’re going to make sure that they have access to the full slate of that care, because that’s what we owe them"

Updated: August 1, 2022 - 10:36pm

Speaking to CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough said his department was exploring options to allow women veterans access to abortion even if they live in states that have banned the procedure.

Tapper asked McDonough about a letter from a group of Democratic senators insisting that his department guarantee abortion access to women veterans. “Will the VA take this measure and allow abortion services at VA hospitals even in states where abortion is banned?” he inquired.

McDonough did not directly answer the question but said “[t]here are 300,000 women veterans of childbearing age who rely on us for their reproductive health care... We’re going to make sure that they have access to the full slate of that care, because that’s what we owe them."

The CNN anchor then attempted to clarify whether McDonough was looking at ways to provide the procedure to women living in pro-life states within the borders of those states. McDonough said only that the VA was wrestling with the issue.

“We’re looking expressly at these questions about how we guarantee the life and the health of our women veterans, those 300,000 who rely on us for their care,” he replied. “My preference is that those 300,000 women veterans — and that’s the fastest growing cohort of veterans that we have in our care, women veterans — my preference is that they not face risks to their lives as a result of this decision from the court.”

“I don’t have any announcements to make on that this morning, Jake," he asserted.

Just the News Spotlight