National Organization for Women – NYC vs. VA and DoD

On August 2, 2023 , the National Organization for Women’s New York City Chapter (NOW-NYC) filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging discriminatory eligibility policies of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility services. These exclusionary policies deny coverage to both service members and veterans.

To receive access to IVF, DOD and the VA policies require service members and veterans to be legally married, able to produce the necessary gametes (sperm and eggs) to create an embryo, and either have a severe injury or illness (DOD) or service-connected disability (VA) impacting their fertility. VA goes on to define “infertility” as arising only when a married opposite-sex couple fails to achieve a pregnancy. Functionally, this means that same-sex and unmarried couples and single veterans or service members are denied coverage. The lawsuit alleges that these policies violate Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The clinic along with the Yale Law School Reproductive Rights at Justice Project are counsel for NOW-NYC.

Case Documents

Press and Media

Clinics Sue Pentagon and VA Over Discriminatory Fertility Policies” Press Release, Aug. 2, 2023

Lawsuits challenge ‘discriminatory’ Pentagon, VA fertility treatment policies” Stars and Stripes, Aug. 2, 2023

Veteran Advocates Sue over 'Discriminatory' Fertility Treatment Policies at DoD, VA” Military.com, Aug. 2, 2023