NRL News

Senate Republicans Push Back on Biden Administration Rule Funding Abortion at the VA

by | May 5, 2023

By Jennifer Popik, J.D., Director of Federal Legislation  

Editor’s note. This appears on page one of the May issue of NRL News. Please share this 42 page edition with your pro-life family and friends.

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Since 1992, the VA has been statutorily prohibited from using taxpayer dollars for abortion. On September 9, 2022, the Biden Administration Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disregarded this longstanding statutory prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion at the VA and issued a new rule that includes funding abortion for “health” reasons. 

The undefined reference to health means, as in Doe v. Bolton (the companion case to Roe v. Wade), that abortions can now be done at the VA for virtually any reason. The High Court held in Doe that, “medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

For the past 30 years, abortion has been allowed in the rare cases where the mother was faced with an emergency situation or life-threatening complication. Because there is nothing in the Interim Final Rule which defines health, the health exception is not limited in any way. This means the VA is now providing abortion on demand, with no limits.

Congressional Republicans, led by pro-life Sen. Tommy Tuberville, have been attempting to fight back.  

In one of the few tools available to the minority, Sen. Tuberville led a vote using the Congressional Review Act to bring a vote to the floor, not needing the permission of the Democrat Leader pro-abortion Sen. Charles Schumer.  

In the vote on Wednesday April 19, the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate defeated the Republican effort to nullify the VA rule that provides abortion services through the taxpayer-funded VA health care system.

The resolution failed by a vote of 48-51. All Democrats voted against the resolution except for Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) who voted for it.  Sens. Collins (R-Maine) and Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted against the measure.

However, Sen. Tuberville continues the fight, attempting to seek answers. 

According to Spencer Brown’s May 2, 2023 article in Townhall

[On Monday, May 1st, ] Tuberville — whose persistence in attempts to provide oversight of services provided to veterans has proven tireless — fired off a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough seeking information about the new rule that forces hardworking American taxpayers to fund abortions. 

In it, Tuberville explains that he remains “deeply concerned about implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) interim final rule (IFR) on abortion services, published on September 9, 2022” and outlined his numerous requests that have gone unanswered.

  • On September 21, 2022, Tuberville submitted a question for the record about the V.A. rule’s implementation.
  • On February 15, 2023, Tuberville again asked for information about the rule. 
  • On March 15, 2023, Tuberville asked an undersecretary for information on the implementation of the rule. 

“As of today, I still have not received answers to my questions,” Tuberville emphasized. 

Categories: Abortion Funding