11,000+ ACLJ Action Supporters Directly Challenge VA’s Abortion-On-Demand Rule

October 12, 2022

Over the last week, 11,214 ACLJ Action members and supporters filed public comments challenging  the Biden Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) illegal interim final rule (IFR) that would allow abortion-on-demand up until the point of birth.

ACLJ Action submissions represent 19.4% of the total 57,902 comments filed regarding the rule.

Contrary to federal and state laws, the IFR amends the VA’s medical regulations to create broad exceptions to the exclusion of abortion procedures for veterans receiving medical care from the VA. It also eliminates the exclusion for abortion counseling.

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As a result of this rule, the VA announced in September that it performed the first abortion in its history.

Members and supporters were invited to edit and then submit the below comment through ACLJ Action’s secure system:

“I write to oppose this rule that allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to perform abortions in violation of both federal and state law.

As you know, the VA is an institution intended to care for the men and women who have put their life on the line for our country. The VA plays an important role in providing a variety of benefits, including healthcare, to our veterans and their families.

This rule undermines the intended purpose of the VA, using taxpayer dollars to harm preborn children in violation of federal and state laws. Abortion is the purposeful termination of innocent human life. Abortion also harms the women upon whom abortions are done—many of whom may already bear the wounds of war or who may be pressured into abortions by others.

I am concerned that this regulation goes far beyond protecting the lives of pregnant women. It includes a broadly worded “health” exception that opens the door to abortion-on-demand up until the point of birth in virtually any case.  I am also concerned that the rule prohibits the VA from investigating instances where claims of rape or incest are used to justify abortions.

I further note that, in this effort to hijack Veterans Affairs for political purposes, the rule is unlawful because it:

      1. violates Section 106 of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, which has never been repealed by Congress. Section 106 states that “general reproductive health care” is not to include “infertility services, abortions, or pregnancy care . . .” Public Law 102-585, sec. 106;
      1. violates the Administrative Procedure Act which requires that the public have an opportunity to provide comment on matters of public interest before a rule is effective; and
      1. attempts to supersede the authority of the states to regulate abortion as they see fit.

The Supreme Court, in its Dobbs decision, noted both that abortion “presents a profound moral issue on which Americans hold sharply conflicting views,” 142 S. Ct. at 2240, and that

‘the people of the various States may evaluate [their] interests differently. . .Voters in [some] States may wish to impose tight restrictions based on their belief that abortion destroys an “unborn human being.” . . . Our Nation’s historical understanding of ordered liberty does not prevent the people’s elected representatives from deciding how abortion should be regulated. . ..

[T]he authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives.’

Id. at 2257, 2279

This interim final rule as proposed by the VA is an extreme and unjustified overreach by the Executive Branch. The VA does not have the authority to unilaterally alter federal law in order to violate the laws of states that both value and protect innocent human life—whether born or preborn.”

ACLJ Action would like to thank everyone who submitted a comment. The Biden Administration will now have to provide an individualized response accounting for each unique submission. Rest assured that ACLJ Action will remain vigilant in combatting the Biden Administration’s illegal overreach and in protecting innocent life in the womb.

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