Democrats applaud, Republicans slam new VA abortion rule
The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed a new rule that it will offer abortions to veterans and VA recipients at their hospitals nationwide in cases of rape, incest, or if a mother’s life is in danger. .
The new rule change comes after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, ending the constitutional right to abortion and creating a patchwork of laws and restrictions across the country.
Under the policy change, abortions will be available even at VA hospitals in states that have severely restricted or banned the procedure. The VA’s decision was cheered by Democrats, who have long called for the agency to take such a step, but criticized by Republicans.
Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, among others, held a press conference Wednesday to applaud the VA’s decision.
“The VA makes it clear that veterans have access to reproductive health care, even in states where Republican MAGA politicians criminalize abortion without exception,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Currently, states like Florida, Kentucky, Texas, and Ohio have laws restricting abortions, but the states are also home to major VA medical centers.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley represents Missouri, a state that now only allows abortions if the mother’s life is in danger and has no exceptions for rape or incest. He argues that Democrats are the ones making “radical” decisions on the issue of abortion care.
“This strikes me as yet another attempt by the Biden administration to circumvent what’s really in the law and … to completely deny the ability of the American people to make up their own minds on this issue and to legislate about it,” Hawley said. said.
Lawmakers who support the rule change disagree with Hawley’s remarks. Warren and Hirono were among more than two dozen Democratic lawmakers who asked the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make the change after the Supreme Court voted six to three to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.
Prior to last week’s announcement, abortion care for veterans was limited and only available in specific circumstances.
Hirono says the decision is one a woman should be able to make on her own.
“These women risked their lives while serving our country. And now when they want to make decisions to protect their own lives, or in cases of rape or incest, Republicans say no,” Hirono said.
There will be a 30-day period for public comment on the VA’s new abortion policy. The rule is also likely to face a legal challenge.