The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday it plans to provide abortions in cases of rape, incest and cases of emergency “regardless of state restrictions” to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries.
The VA made the announcement in a press release issued Friday. The press release explained that it submitted an interim final rule to the Federal Register to provide abortions. The abortion services will be authorized immediately after the rule is published.
Access to medically necessary abortions is essential for preserving the life and health of Veterans and VA beneficiaries. Restricting access to abortion care has well-documented adverse health consequences, including increased risk of loss of future fertility, significant morbidity, or death. Veterans are also at greater risk of experiencing pregnancy-related complications due to increased rates of chronic health conditions. Therefore, to protect the life and health of pregnant Veterans and eligible beneficiaries, VA determined that it was necessary to provide access to abortion counseling and — in some cases — abortions.
The determination of whether the “life and health of the pregnant Veteran would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term” will be made on a case-by-case basis and will be the result of careful consultation between VA health care providers and the Veterans they serve. In cases of rape or incest, self-reporting from a Veteran or VA beneficiary will constitute sufficient evidence that an act of rape or incest occurred.
VA is taking steps to guarantee Veterans and other VA beneficiaries abortion-related care anywhere in the country. VA employees, when working within the scope of their federal employment, may provide authorized services regardless of state restrictions.
In a statement, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough said that pregnant veterans “deserve to have access to world-class reproductive care.”
A report from Axios noted that the VA will also coordinate abortinos with private healthcare providers in states where abortion is legal.
Shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Military Times reported that the VA planned to continue to provide reproductive health care services to patients, but not provide any “new services or travel assistance to help women get [abortions].” VA officials clarified at the time that it does not provide abortion services or travel assistance for abortion procedures.
In a statement, SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser slammed the VA’s abortion expansion.
“Shame on Secretary McDonough for caving to Biden and the radical abortion lobby’s demands to violate state and federal law regarding abortion. Abortion is not health care – in fact it carries serious physical and mental health risks – and expanding abortion on demand into the VA is illegal, period,” Dannenfelser said. “This is the latest egregious example of the pro-abortion extremism that has taken over the Democratic Party. Biden himself used to agree taxpayers should never be forced to fund the destruction of innocent life. Now he is head of the most pro-abortion administration in history. There is no law they won’t rewrite or institution they won’t destroy in their drive to impose abortion without limits – even late-term abortions well after unborn children can feel pain – up to the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers, nationwide.”
This is the latest push in the Biden’s administration’s “whole-of-government” response to the overturn of Roe. Townhall reported how Biden’s HHS has unveiled resources pointing underage girls to resources to obtain an abortion without parental notification or consent and created a DOJ task force aimed at protecting abortion.