IAVA Applauds Veterans Affairs Committee for Vote on Deborah Sampson Act
Washington D.C. – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s leading post-9/11 veterans empowerment organization, today applauded the House Veterans Affairs Committee for its vote advancing the Deborah Sampson Act. The legislation addresses long-standing gender disparities at the VA and will ensure women veterans receive equitable care and access to the benefits and services they have earned. IAVA has been the lead champion for the original Deborah Sampson Act since the last congress, when IAVA developed the bill with the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
“The specific needs of women veterans are not being met,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “The passage of the Deborah Sampson Act in the House brings us one step closer to providing the services and resources women veterans desperately need and rightly deserve.”
“IAVA has long been a staunch advocate for women veterans, having launched its ‘She Who Borne the Battle campaign in 2017,'” added Butler. “IAVA now calls upon the House to pass this bill in time for Veterans Day, and for the Senate to follow in kind.”
The Deborah Sampson Act significantly reduces barriers to care while expanding services to address issues like reintegration, homelessness and newborn care. The bill also includes specific provisions to address sexual harassment and assault in VA facilities and it establishes an Office of Women’s Health to be administered directly under the Undersecretary of Health.
IAVA’s Annual Survey results from 2018 revealed the need to focus on taking care of women veterans. Women veterans showed higher rates of:
- Suicidal ideation (49% vs. 42%);
- Mental health injuries (63% vs. 55%); and
- Financial troubles (37% vs. 33%)
“IAVA is confident that the Deborah Sampson Act will pass – taking care of women veterans is fundamental to American values and to the mission of the VA,” said Lindsay Rodman, IAVA’s Executive Vice President, Communications and Legal Strategy. Once this bill becomes law, IAVA will call upon the VA once again to revise its motto, which continues to exclude women veterans.”