News Releases

Expands access to services for women veterans, improves the collection & analysis of data regarding women veterans

Murray: “Female veterans, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. veterans population, face unique challenges upon coming home.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, joined several of her Senate colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation to improve services and access at the Department of Veterans Affairs for women veterans. The Deborah Sampson Act addresses gender disparities at VA to ensure that women veterans are getting equitable care. This legislation will provide enhanced access to VA care and will ensure women veterans are getting the benefits they have earned through their service. Additionally, this bill will address the needs of women veterans, who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment, and go without needed health care.

“When brave individuals sign up to serve our country, we promise to support them when they get home. That means access to the best quality mental and health care, access to support services, and so much more,” said Sen. Murray. “Female veterans, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. veterans population, face unique challenges upon coming home. The provisions in this bill are key to helping fulfill our promise to female veterans, and I am going to keep working to ensure female veterans know that when they do return home, their country has their back.” 

The Deborah Sampson Act does the following:

·         Empowers women veterans by expanding peer-to-peer counseling, group counseling and call centers for women veterans,

·         Improves the quality of care for infant children of women veterans by increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities can provide and authorizing medically-necessary transportation for newborns,

·         Eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers and coordinators in VA facilities, training clinicians, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment of care for women veterans,

·         Provides support services for women veterans seeking legal assistance and authorizes additional grants for organizations supporting low-income women veterans,

·         Improves the collection and analysis of data regarding women and minority veterans, and expands outreach by centralizing all information for women veterans in one easily accessible place on the VA website.

The Deborah Sampson Act was introduced by Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.), and is cosponsored by Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

The bill is endorsed by IAVA, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). The Deborah Sampson Act gets its name from Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. She was wounded in 1782 and spent half of her life fighting to be recognized for her service. She is one of a small number of women with a documented record of military combat experience in the Revolutionary War.

The Deborah Sampson Act can be found online HERE.  A one pager can be downloaded HERE.