NCHV Statement on Dobbs Decision
Today, the United States Supreme Court overturned the ruling in Roe v Wade that previously legalized abortions in the United States. This decision removes federal protections for abortion access and the lowest income people in this country are most likely to bear the burden.
At NCHV, we are concerned about this decision and the impact it will have on veterans, including those at risk of/experiencing homelessness for several reasons.
- Currently, women veterans are not able to receive copay-free contraceptives from the VA, a barrier to unintended pregnancies.
- A report from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center also found that showed that over 75 percent of women experiencing homelessness have been subjected to rape, physical assault, and/or stalking.
- Veteran-specific shelter and housing options are not always adequate to meet the needs of families.
- Pregnancies and additional children can pose barriers to employment, education, and income, and impact a veteran’s ability to access shelter and housing options in their community.
- HHS research has found that a person in the US is most likely to experience homelessness when under 1 year old.
VA research has found that women veterans are more than twice as likely to become homeless as women who did not serve in the military. Additionally, 1–2% of all women veterans and 13–15% of women veterans living in poverty will experience homelessness over the course of a year. Women are one of the fastest-growing subpopulations within the population of veterans experiencing homelessness. As such, service providers can act to reduce the impact this decision may have on the veterans we serve. Revoking access to abortion could have a significant impact on women veterans experiencing housing instability—creating additional barriers to preventing and or ending homelessness.
As providers, here are several steps you can take:
- Understand what this decision means, in relation to State Laws in your area.
- Proactively have conversations about contraceptives and family planning with the veterans you serve as a part of the regular case management process.
- Know where to access free contraceptives.
- Contact your member of Congress to request the support the Access to Contraception Expansion for Veterans (ACE Veterans) Act, which reduces disparities between veterans and civilians by allowing women veterans to get a year’s supply of free contraceptives from VA.
Today’s ruling undoubtedly increases the burden on women veterans, especially those at risk of/experiencing homelessness. NCHV and providers have a part to play in easing this additional burden. We look forward to continuing to address the needs of all veterans to ensure that no veteran is without a safe, stable place to call home.