Six months after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began allowing its medical facilities to commit abortions, two pro-life politicians have banded together to push back.
Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Representative Michael Cloud of Texas introduced a joint resolution to the 118th Congress that seeks to prevent the VA Department from fully implementing the interim pro-abortion rule.
“Using our VA medical facilities to provide publicly-funded abortions is an unconstitutional abuse of the system, and it will not be tolerated,” Tuberville told Fox News Digital. “No taxpayer should be forced to pay for abortion services that disregard the will of millions of Americans in states with legal protections for life, rightfully upheld by the Supreme Court last year. The interim final rule highlights this administration’s willingness to ignore the law and exploit limited federal resources to serve their extreme abortion agenda.”
Last September, the VA Department enacted an interim rule to allow VA hospitals to commit abortions on women in cases of rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is in jeopardy. The rule also allows VA hospitals to provide abortion counseling to pregnant veterans, and in some circumstances to coordinate abortions with private sector abortionists. The interim rule came as part of the Biden administration’s wide-ranging pro-abortion efforts coordinated by a Health and Human Services Department task force established after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, with the aim of challenging or even bypassing state-level pro-life protections.
Sen. Tuberville and Rep. Cloud’s joint resolution seeks to use the auspices of the Congressional Review Act, which enables Congress to review and potentially block a federal agency’s rule before it takes effect. More than 60 representatives have endorsed the joint resolution.
Cloud told Fox News Digital, “Directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to perform abortions is a clear abuse of the law and it forces taxpayers to fund abortions, something the majority of Americans oppose. I will always be a voice for the unborn and oppose taxpayer funded abortions.”
Less than a month after the interim rule, the VA Under Secretary for Health, Shereef Elnahal, stated that VA hospitals would invoke the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) to commit abortions even on female civilians who never served in the military. “We don’t wait for confirmation of veterans’ status,” Elnahal said, as Live Action News reported. “We have the ability and do save the person’s life. This applies to anybody, in a setting of trauma or an emergency that needs lifesaving emergency care.” The Biden administration has extensively invoked EMTALA to try to force abortion on some states that have enacted pro-life protections, although a federal judge blocked the Biden administration’s efforts in Texas.
As Live Action News reported, in January, the VA Department issued guidelines for employees to request a conscience exemption to its pro-abortion policy.
Last fall, fifteen state attorneys general – including those from Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia – sent a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough blasting the interim rule. “We will not allow you to use this rule to erect a regime of elective abortions that defy state laws,” they wrote, as reported by Live Action News. “We stand ready to move decisively against departures from the rule’s terms or its promises. And we will enforce our duly enacted state laws and hold you accountable for violations of federal law. Those who perform abortions based on the interim final rule — and in defiance of state or federal laws — do so at their own risk.”
Susan B. Anthony Pro Life-America, March for Life, National Right to Life, Catholic Vote, Heritage Action, and Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee are among the pro-life organizations that have endorsed the joint resolution.
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