One of the Biden administration’s plans to get around the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade was to turn federal property into abortion sanctuaries.
That included facilities owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
This week, a dozen Republican senators, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, and another 26 House Republicans called on VA Secretary Denis McDonough to overturn a rule allowing the procedure within the VA at taxpayer expense.
At issue is whether the VA would violate the Hyde Amendment, the 1976 measure that outlaws taxpayer-funded abortions.
In their letter to McDonough, the lawmakers expressed “strong opposition” to the VA rule, which they say “directly violates the VA’s explicit statutory prohibition on abortion that has governed the VA for more than 30 years and has never been repealed.”
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The GOP lawmakers added that the rule introduced last month authorizes the VA “to provide taxpayer-funded abortions and abortion counseling to veterans, as well as eligible spouses and dependents, in defiance of both federal and state law.”
“The VA does not have the power to override an act of Congress to impose its preferred policy of taxpayer-funded abortion on demand until birth,” the letter stated. “Tragically, the [rule] is the latest in a long string of actions the Biden Administration has taken to promote the killing of unborn children through abortion in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.”
The lawmakers demanded that McDonough “immediately rescind” the rule “in conformity with the law and Congressional intent.”
“While the VA claims that access to abortion is ‘needed,’ Congress has unequivocally prohibited it. Consistent with the 1992 law, the VA’s former regulations governing its medical benefits package promulgated in 1999 stated that ‘the ‘medical benefits package’ does not include . . . abortions and abortion counseling,’” the letter added.
The language of the VA rule “purports to allow the VA to provide for taxpayer-funded abortions on demand through all nine months of pregnancy up until the moment of birth.”
“No reasonable reading of the law or assessment of legislative history of laws governing the VA related to abortion would indicate that the VA has that authority.”
The congressional Republicans noted that “no limits” exist under the rule as to when abortion is permitted, including “late-term abortions or gruesome procedures like live dismemberment abortions.”
The rule “ignores science and the law, and neglects health care for the most vulnerable. It provides no protections to unborn children with beating hearts, arms, legs, fingers, toes, ability to feel pain or even the ability to survive outside the womb.”
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In their letter, the legislators also note that the VA rule offers no protection “for VA employees or contractors who object to performing or promoting abortion against their religious beliefs or moral convictions, many of whom have never been faced with the dilemma of whether to participate in abortion.”
That provision alone violates both the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The “lawless contents” of the regulation also step afoul of the Antideficiency Act, which blocks the administration from spending more than Congress allows by law.
“Abortion is not and will never be health care. Health care protects life. Abortion takes life,” the GOP lawmakers said, noting the VA estimates it will perform at least 1,000 abortions each year — “which is to say, 1,000 precious, innocent unborn children will be brutally and illegally killed by the VA, using the taxpayer dollars of the American people.”
“We urge you, and others within the VA, to respect the dignity of our veterans and all of their family members, including unborn children, and to respect the will of the American people as reflected in Acts of Congress, by ensuring services provided and funded by the VA are focused on true healthcare consistent with federal law.”
Florida Republican Reps. Bill Posey and Brian Mast also signed the letter.