Specialized Care for Female Vets May Reduce Access

Robin Marty

Special health care services intended to for women in the military may in fact be making be reducing female veterans' access to healthcare.

The military has been trying to find the right way to provide better healthcare to women who serve, even introducing women-only clinics to provide additional support and access.  Unfortunately, it appears the opposite may be occurring, as military women find seeing a doctor more difficult under the new program.

Via the Airforce Times:

The creation of health clinics specifically for female veterans at Veterans Affairs Department hospitals may be having the unintended effect of limiting women’s access to routine medical care, according to a report being prepared as part of a AmVets-sponsored symposium about problems facing new veterans.

A working group of current and former service members looking at veterans health care issues raised concerns that women may have a harder time than men being seen by their primary care physicians because of a policy that restricts women to being seen only when those physicians rotate through the women’s health clinics, said Ryan Gallucci, an AmVets’ spokesman, said.

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If a female veteran’s primary care physician sees patients in the women’s clinic only one afternoon a week, which seems to be a normal rotation, that veteran could see the physician only on that one afternoon. Male veterans, however, could see that physician on any day he takes appointments, Gallucci said.

“We think having women veterans’ health clinics is a good thing, and there is a need for them, but we do not think the result should be that women are more limited than men in getting primary care appointments,” Gallucci said.

Meanwhile, a veteran’s clinic in Wisconsin is attempting to bridge that gap by hiring additional staff, as well as expanding their mental health services.  From NewsTalk 550:

The Veterans Administration has hired three women providers and expanded mental health services in the year since it opened a larger community-based outreach clinic in Wausau.

The changes reflect the agency’s goal to accommodate a growing number of women veterans and more adequately treat veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Recognizing that nearly one out of every seven veterans is a woman, the agency has hired three women providers.

“There’s a big push for more services,” said Sarah Parsch, an advanced practice nurse practitioner who specializes in treating women veterans. “It’s not just physical health or mental health anymore – it’s a holistic approach.”

The Wausau VA clinic recently won praise from agency officials for offering a more women-friendly environment.

“We appreciate gains in the number of providers at both the parent facility [in Tomah] and the community-based clinics who are providing comprehensive primary care to women and thus reducing the number of women veterans receiving their health care under a ‘split model’,” officials said.

News Politics

Tim Kaine Changes Position on Federal Funding for Abortion Care

Ally Boguhn

The Obama administration, however, has not signaled support for rolling back the Hyde Amendment's ban on federal funding for abortion care.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Democratic Party’s vice presidential candidate, has promised to stand with nominee Hillary Clinton in opposing the Hyde Amendment, a ban on federal funding for abortion care.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that Kaine “has said that he will stand with Secretary Clinton to defend a woman’s right to choose, to repeal the Hyde amendment,” according to the network’s transcript.

“Voters can be 100 percent confident that Tim Kaine is going to fight to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Mook said.

The commitment to opposing Hyde was “made privately,” Clinton spokesperson Jesse Ferguson later clarified to CNN’s Edward Mejia Davis.

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Kaine’s stated support for ending the federal ban on abortion funding is a reversal on the issue for the Virginia senator. Kaine this month told the Weekly Standard  that he had not “been informed” that this year’s Democratic Party platform included a call for repealing the Hyde Amendment. He said he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

Repealing the Hyde Amendment has been an issue for Democrats on the campaign trail this election cycle. Speaking at a campaign rally in New Hampshire in January, Clinton denounced Hyde, noting that it made it “harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.”

Clinton called the federal ban on abortion funding “hard to justify” when asked about it later that month at the Brown and Black Presidential Forum, adding that “the full range of reproductive health rights that women should have includes access to safe and legal abortion.”

Clinton’s campaign told Rewire during her 2008 run for president that she “does not support the Hyde amendment.”

The Democratic Party on Monday codified its commitment to opposing Hyde, as well as the Helms Amendment’s ban on foreign assistance funds being used for abortion care. 

The Obama administration, however, has not signaled support for rolling back Hyde’s ban on federal funding for abortion care.

When asked about whether the president supported the repeal of Hyde during the White House press briefing Tuesday, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said he did not “believe we have changed our position on the Hyde Amendment.”

When pushed by a reporter to address if the administration is “not necessarily on board” with the Democratic platform’s call to repeal Hyde, Schultz said that the administration has “a longstanding view on this and I don’t have any changes in our position to announce today.”

News Politics

Democratic Party Platform: Repeal Bans on Federal Funding for Abortion Care

Ally Boguhn

When asked this month about the platform’s opposition to Hyde, Hillary Clinton’s running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said that he had not “been informed of that” change to the platform though he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde Amendment.”

Democrats voted on their party platform Monday, codifying for the first time the party’s stated commitment to repealing restrictions on federal funding for abortion care.

The platform includes a call to repeal the Hyde Amendment, an appropriations ban on federal funding for abortion reimplemented on a yearly basis. The amendment disproportionately affects people of color and those with low incomes.

“We believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured,” states the Democratic Party platform. “We will continue to oppose—and seek to overturn—federal and state laws and policies that impede a woman’s access to abortion, including by repealing the Hyde Amendment.”

The platform also calls for an end to the Helms Amendment, which ensures that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning.”

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Though Helms allows funding for abortion care in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, the Obama administration has failed to enforce those guarantees.

Despite the platform’s opposition to the restrictions on abortion care funding, it makes no mention of how the anti-choice measures would be rolled back.

Both presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have promised to address Hyde and Helms if elected. Clinton has said she would “fix the Helms Amendment.”

Speaking at the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum in January, Clinton said that the Hyde Amendment “is just hard to justify because … certainly the full range of reproductive health rights that women should have includes access to safe and legal abortion.” In 2008, Clinton’s campaign told Rewire that she “does not support the Hyde amendment.”

When asked this month about the platform’s opposition to Hyde, Clinton’s running mate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said in an interview with the Weekly Standard that he had not “been informed of that” change to the platform though he has “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”

“The Hyde amendment and Helms amendment have prevented countless low-income women from being able to make their own decisions about health, family, and future,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement, addressing an early draft of the platform. “These amendments have ensured that a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion is a right that’s easier to access if you have the resources to afford it. That’s wrong and stands directly in contrast with the Democratic Party’s principles, and we applaud the Party for reaffirming this in the platform.”