USCCB, Military Archdiocese Oppose VA’s Proposed Abortion Services Rule

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese for Military Services have filed a joint statement opposing a rule proposed by the Biden administration to allow abortions on demand in health care programs. health administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. .

“The Interim Final Rule allows abortions, including elective abortions, in VA programs up to nine months of pregnancy,” the statement dated Sept. 21 said.

“The fact that abortion is permitted during all nine months of pregnancy can be inferred from the failure of the rule to impose a gestational limit on the availability of abortion in VA programs,” he added.

On Sept. 1, the VA submitted to the Federal Register an interim final rule allowing the VA to provide access to abortion counseling and — in some cases — abortions to pregnant veterans and VA beneficiaries, according to a Sept. 2 press release from the VA. .

“In our view, there are at least three issues with the interim final rule,” the USCCB and the Military Archdiocese said in their statement.

“First, the department has no statutory authority to adopt it,” the statement said. “Second, the rule represents a violation of conditions that Congress has placed on the availability of taxpayer funds and government facilities for abortions.

“Third, the rule will facilitate the taxpayer-funded destruction of innocent human lives and harm the women it is meant to benefit.”

After the rule was published Sept. 9 by the Federal Register, the VA immediately began providing these services “in as many places as possible.”

At the same time, a 30-day public comment period began, during which the VA considered making the rule permanent.

The USCCB and the Military Archdiocese filed their joint statement opposing the interim rule electronically.

In its press release, the VA said the department “will specifically provide access to abortions when the pregnant veteran’s life or health would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest”. says the VA statement.

The statement from the USCCB and the Military Archdiocese said: “Given the broad interpretation generally given to the term ‘health’ in the context of abortion, a rule permitting abortion for health reasons without other qualification or limitation has generally been understood as authorizing abortion on demand.”

The VA said beneficiaries enrolled in the VA’s civilian health and medical program “will also have access to this care.”

“This is a decision about patient safety,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a statement. “Pregnant veterans and VA recipients deserve access to world-class reproductive care when they need it most. This is what our nation owes them, and this is what we will deliver to VA.

The VA action is one of many initiatives the Biden administration has announced to provide abortions to women since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 24 to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the abortion issue back to the states.

After the decision, which he called “tragic” and a “sad day for the country”, President Joe Biden formed a task force to study how his administration can defend and support women’s so-called right to abortion.

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The VA interim rule as published by the Federal Register can be viewed online.

The USCCB-Archdiocese Joint Statement for Military Services can be viewed online.

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