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Congress Moves A Step Closer To Lifting Ban On In Vitro Fertilization Services For Veterans

Ed Andrieski
AP Photo
Matthew Keil was severely injured while serving in Iraq. He and his wife were only able to conceive through in-vitro fertilization, an expensive treatment not covered by veteran health care right now.

Congress has moved a step closer to allowing injured veterans access to in vitro fertilization services after the House of Representatives passed a Veterans Affairs bill that includes a provision aimed at helping injured veterans start families. 

In 1992, in response to conservative concerns about in vitro fertilization, Congress put a ban in place preventing veterans from getting that kind of fertility treatment through VA health care. 

Democratic Representative Rick Larsen, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said he’s pleased this provision made it into the bill.

"It’s about letting these people who sacrificed a lot for our country while being in the military to have an opportunity to start and raise a family," Larsen said. 

But Larsen ended up voting against the overall Veterans Affairs bill in part because of a section he said underfunds the response to the Zika virus. Still, Larsen said he’s hopeful that Congress will reach a compromise that will include providing in vitro fertilization treatment for veterans.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray has long been pushing for the ban to be lifted. She said she’s pleased the provision passed in the House but that the overall bill is flawed in part because it includes cuts to veteran care. She said in a statement that she’s hoping to negotiate to improve the bill before the Senate votes on it.

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.
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