SOURCE: Paralyzed Veterans of America

Paralyzed Veterans of America

July 15, 2016 07:30 ET

Paralyzed Veterans of America Appalled Over Harris Amendment to Spending Bill

Legislation Denies Catastrophically Injured Veterans Reproductive Assistance

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 15, 2016) - Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today expressed its shock and extreme disappointment in the wake of an amendment passed yesterday that would hinder efforts to allow the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to provide assisted reproductive technologies, including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), to veterans with catastrophic reproductive injury. In response, Paralyzed Veterans issued the following statement from its Executive Director Sherman Gillums, Jr.:

"Those in Congress who want to make this an ideological issue should have to face those combat-wounded veterans and their families and tell them that their desire to procreate is not their government's responsibility. We keep hearing arguments about this being a moral issue, and it is indeed -- it's about our moral obligation to make these men and women as whole as we can. This amendment proposed by Rep. Harris places ideology over that obligation by presenting yet again another roadblock to doing what is right for these injured veterans. Paralyzed Veterans will not rest until the VA ban on providing reproductive services, including IVF, is reversed. The opportunity to serve in the military should not come at the expense of having a child when that military service results in fertility problems due to catastrophic disability."

The amendment offered by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), proposes to prevent embryos created through treatments funded by the VA or Department of Defense from being destroyed. Democrats, including Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), objected to the amendment, as did Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), raising the concerns it could potentially affect insurance coverage for IVF treatments. Rep. Dent also expressed concerns about the scope of Harris' language saying that the amendment would have potentially far-reaching implications.

About Paralyzed Veterans of America:
Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For nearly 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 34 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (

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