Who should have more rights and benefits? Men and women who were willing to sacrifice their lives to serve our country or those who committed heinous crimes like murder?
According to our courts and laws, convicted murderers sitting in prison can receive more fully paid for medical care and treatment than some of our permanently disabled veterans.
Compare the following two cases:
Last year a court in Massachusetts ordered the state to pay thousands of dollars for a sex change operation of a convicted murderer. The state had already paid out thousands of dollars the prisoner’s hormone therapy and was then ordered by the court to pay the over $20,000 cost of the actually surgery.
Then we have the case Alex and Holly Dillmann. While serving his second tour in Afghanistan, Army Staff Sgt. And squad leader was seriously wounded when a roadside bomb exploded. Dillmann spent the next year in the hospital, undergoing 25 surgeries. Today he is confined to a wheelchair.
The Dillmann’s, like many young couples, desperately want to have a family. Unfortunately, Alex’s injuries make it impossible for him to father a child naturally. Before being discharged, the couple had a mere 6 months in which to try expensive in vitro fertilization (IVF) which would be covered by his military health insurance. Sadly, the desperate attempts failed.
Doctors have told the couple that there is still a good chance that IVF treatment will work and produce kids from the two of them. However, once Alex was medically discharged from the Army, IVF treatment is no longer covered by his benefits, even though he nearly died serving his country.
Holly lamented to the media:
“We would talk about what our life was going to be like when we got out of the hospital. That was getting a house, that was getting our dog — that was Alex returning back to work, getting a career, and that was having a child one day.”
“We can’t even try to have kids on our own, because of his injuries. We can’t. We have got to utilize the technology offered to us by in vitro fertilization.”
“It’s been stressful, we’ve had to sacrifice and we’re just ready to move on with our life and… have a family, just like anybody else, and have that dream. We want– we want the American Dream.”
Over twenty years ago, in the earlier stages of IVF procedures and before so many of our young men and women were horribly injured by IEDs in the Middle East, Congress passed a law stating that the Veterans Administration will not fund any IVF treatment for veterans. One of the reasons still being used to justify the law is the cost of IVF treatment which can be as expensive as a prisoner’s sex change.
It’s a sad commentary for our nation when a convicted murderer is provided a free sex change at taxpayer expense but a permanently disabled war veteran is denied the necessary coverage to have a child. Something is very wrong and upside down with this system.
I believe that most prisoners have given up most of their rights when they decided to commit the crime(s) they did that landed them in prison. On the flip side, money should be no object when caring for our wounded veterans.
Fortunately, there is growing bipartisan support to change that archaic and wrong law that prevents the VA from covering IVF treatment for our heroes like the Dillmanns. If family means anything to you, contact your Senator and Representative and urge them to support the measure to repeal that law so that wounded veterans like Alex Dillmann can be the father of their own children.
Incidentally, if the Dillmann’s are successful and can eventually have a son, they want to give him the middle name of Kristopher in honor of Sgt. Kristopher Gould who was killed in the same explosion that left Alex paralyzed. Alex said Kristopher Gould had the heart of a lion and that he hopes his son will too someday.