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VA Officially Overturns Abortion Ban Despite Republican Opposition

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Monday formally codified a policy to provide abortions in certain cases, including in states that ban abortions.

The Biden administration's Department of Veterans Affairs will be retired under interim rules starting in September 2022 after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June of the same year, giving states the right to legislate independent abortion policies. It has provided abortions to military personnel. Republicans unsuccessfully fought to overturn the rules, which were published without any changes on Monday. according to For submission to the Federal Register.

The state's abortion bans and restrictions “would have an immediate negative impact on the lives and health of veterans,” and that “the state's abortion bans and restrictions would have an immediate negative impact on the lives and health of veterans,” and that “the state's abortion bans and restrictions would have an immediate negative impact on the lives and health of veterans,” and that “the state's abortion bans and restrictions would have an immediate negative impact on the lives and health of veterans, especially since state laws encourage health care providers to discontinue providing services that were not available in the community prior to the Dobbs decision.” This will affect some beneficiaries who are unable to receive appropriate care. We will provide a full range of abortion services,” the Veterans Administration wrote in the notice. (Related: Biden, former Pentagon personnel chief, says abortion policy was meant to avoid Supreme Court's 'errors')

Under the rule, veterans and their dependents will be able to seek abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is in danger. It would also allow veterans' counselors to provide abortion services to patients.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Dennis McDonough announced an interim rule in 2022 that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide abortions in certain cases, but the final policy went through a lengthy formal rulemaking process that included an opportunity for public comment. .

Many commenters argued that the Veterans Administration lacked legal authority to enforce this rule, and “most provided few details to explain their claims.” The Agency noted in the final rule.

The notice explains that this provision violates Veterans Affairs' long-standing policy on providing abortions, and that the agency lacks the authority to lift the ban on abortion counseling and create exceptions for abortions. A member of the department pointed it out. Some argued that the Veterans Administration failed to demonstrate sufficient reason to enforce the rule.

The Department of Veterans Affairs countered that its broad mission is to provide certain veterans with “hospital treatment and medical services that the Secretary deems necessary.”

McDonough determined that abortion was a necessary service. Delaying this rule, including not enforcing it temporarily, could potentially result in an estimated 53% of veterans of reproductive age living in states that partially or fully restrict abortion. says the rule.

Other commenters said the rule violates state law. The Veterans Administration countered that states should not be able to interfere in federal operations.

Attorneys for the Department of Veterans Affairs argued that under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, “Each state must ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs and its employees acting within the scope of its federal authority carry out abortions authorized by federal law, including Veterans Affairs regulations. The court ruled that the provision of services should not be restricted.

In April, the Senate voted 48-51 to reject a bill introduced by Alabama Republican Sen. Thomas Tuberville that would overturn the Veterans Administration's abortion policy. Similar efforts to block the policy through the VA spending bill also failed.

The Veterans Administration performed 88 abortions in the first year of the interim policy. according to In a letter obtained by Military.com.

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