Veterans, active-duty military members deserve better: Access to reproductive health care, gender affirming care and LGBTQ+ programs

The American GI Forum, American Veterans for Equal Rights, Transgender and Diverse Veterans of America Action Group and numerous other organizations from around the nation recently denounced amendments to the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024, that would deny reproductive health care and gender affirming care to veterans of the US military.

We stand united in our opposition to any language in the 12 bills that make up the Omnibus Appropriations package that seeks to break your word to our veterans, our national promise made since President Lincoln declared our national fealty and obligation to our veterans. These amendments are a breach of trust between the people of the United States and those who volunteer to defend our nation’s freedom.

Veterans have served their country with honor and distinction, and they deserve the best possible care. This includes access to reproductive health care and gender affirming care. Reproductive health care is essential for the health and well-being of all women, and gender affirming care is essential for the mental and physical health of transgender and gender diverse people. The amendments in question would specifically deny veterans and service members access to reproductive health care and gender affirming care.

Denying veterans and our service members access to these essential forms of care is not only cruel, but it is also harmful to their health and well-being. It can also lead to increased health care costs, and increased rates of suicide and suicide ideation in an already deeply marginalized veteran population. For example, a study by the Williams Institute found that transgender veterans who lack access to gender affirming care are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

The transgender and gender diverse veteran population is particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of these amendments. This population is already disproportionately affected by poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. Denying them access to essential health care will only make their lives more difficult.

We must ensure that all veterans and service members have access to the care they need, regardless of their gender identity or expression.

Call to action
Contact your elected officials and demand that they vote against these amendments.

Donate to organizations that are fighting for the rights of veterans.

Spread the word about the harmful effects of these amendments.