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WASHINGTON, D.C., December 18, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Senate passed a bill by unanimous voice vote last Thursday to provide costly in vitro fertilization (IVF) to wounded veterans and their spouses.  However, the bill is unlikely to be voted on in the House before year’s end, after Republicans questioned funding for the proposal.

Under current law, active service members who suffer from duty-related injuries to their reproductive systems are eligible for IVF and other fertility interventions through the Department of Defense. But IVF is unavailable to discharged veterans with the same injuries through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The bill passed by the Senate last week would specifically make IVF treatments available to those veterans seeking medical care through the VA. It would also create a child care program for female veterans seeking counseling at VA centers, and require the department improve a number of services aimed specifically at female veterans.

The new offerings are expected to cost taxpayers about $568 million over the next five years.  Senate Democrats suggested the scaling down of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would free up the necessary funds, but some Senate Republicans called that a budget gimmick that could end up trimming needed funding from current military operations overseas.

Due to those concerns over funding, House Republicans don’t plan to take up the issue before the session ends this month. In a statement to reporters, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller said he is “anxious” to address IVF treatments for veterans, but not until the next session of Congress begins in January.

“I am hopeful we can work on this issue to provide an outcome that not only supports our wounded and their families, but also doesn’t put our troops in the field in further danger,” he said.

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