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IAVA-Championed Legislation: Deborah Sampson Act Reintroduced in the Senate

New York, NY (February 15, 2019) — This week, U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Jon Tester (D-MT) reintroduced the bipartisan Deborah Sampson Act to support women veterans.  The bill is a result, in large part, from IAVA’s staunch advocacy for women veterans: the She Who Borne the Battle campaign .  The Act will would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and ensure the VA can address the needs of women veterans, who are more likely than their male peers to face homelessness, unemployment, and lack of access to adequate healthcare services.

IAVA has made fully recognizing and improving services for women veterans one of its “Big 6” policy priorities.  The She Who Borne the Battle campaign is a major initiative aimed at publicizing the importance of raising issues related to women veterans and advocating to change the outdated and gender-exclusive VA motto: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”

“Women comprise an increasing portion of the veterans population every year.  Their contributions to this country have been overlooked for too long,” said IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler. “It is time for Congress to ensure that all veterans receive the recognition and care that they deserve.  Many thanks to Senators Boozman and Tester for getting things started again.”

Last month, IAVA released the results of its annual survey, which is the premier national resource for understanding the Post-9/11 generation of veterans.  Women respondents reported greater need for services than their male counterparts.  Women veterans experienced:

  • Higher rates of suicidal ideation (49% vs. 42%);
  • Higher rates of mental health injuries (63% vs. 55%); and
  • Higher rates of financial troubles (37% vs. 33%).
  • The Deborah Sampson Act is an important step toward lowering this shocking gender gap.

Deborah Sampson was a female veteran from the revolutionary war who disguised herself as a man to join the Patriot Forces.  She was the only woman to earn a full military pension during the Revolutionary War.

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