WASHINGTON — US Senate Democrats are confident that the Department of Veterans Affairs can implement a new policy that will allow its doctors to perform abortions when the pregnancy threatens a patient’s life or health, or when it is the result of rape or incest.
Department of Veterans Affairs Announcing the new policy Last week, he saluted the cheers of Democrats who have been searching for ways to expand access to abortion in states where the procedure has been outlawed since the US Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in June. Abortion-related counseling and services will be provided to pregnant veterans and their beneficiaries in limited circumstances.
But Republicans have sharply criticized the Department of Veterans Affairs for changing its longstanding no-abortion policy, and some have vowed to maintain the status quo.
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth said this week that because Virginia hospitals are affiliated with teaching hospitals, these health care providers will have physicians on staff who have the medical knowledge to perform the procedure.
In addition, Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts senator, said the Department of Justice will protect doctors from prosecution in states where abortion is now prohibited or severely restricted.
“One of the strengths of Virginia’s healthcare is that every major hospital in Virginia is affiliated with a teaching university, which is a medical university teaching facility,” Duckworth said. “So the skill and ability to carry out actions will be there.”
She said VA doctors are not necessarily licensed in the state in which they practice, which means they likely won’t face legal repercussions in states that have banned or restricted abortion.
Medical licenses for VA doctors for pursuing a VA abortion policy cannot be revoked when it differs from state law “because many of them do not have a license in that state because they operate at the federal level,” Duckworth said.
Warren said she had “no doubt” that if the state attorney general or any other attorney general tried to put a VA health care provider in jail for acting in line with VA’s new abortion policy, the U.S. Department of Justice would go to bats.
“The Department of Justice is there to defend VA when VA is operating in accordance with federal law,” Warren said.
Republicans pledge to halt VA policy
Republicans vowed to oppose. “This proposal is in contravention of a longstanding, stable law and complete administrative overreach,” Illinois Republican Representative Mike Post, the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement last week. “I’m against it and I’m really working to put an end to it.”
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall Tell AL.com He plans to sue any health care provider for violating the state’s abortion law.
“I have no intention of waiving my duty to enforce the Unborn Life Protection Act against any practitioner who illegally performs abortions in the state of Alabama,” Marshall told AL.com in a statement. “The power of nations to protect life that is not yet born is stable.”
Alabama’s abortion law prohibits the procedure unless the woman’s life or health is in danger, which means Marshall will likely try to sue VA-affiliated physicians who terminate pregnancies that were the result of rape or incest.
Sharp Republican criticism of the new abortion policy is expected to lead to lawsuits. If upheld, it could mean that the future Republican president would push the Department of Veterans Affairs to reverse course, banning all abortions again.
Arkansas Senator John Bozeman, the top Republican on the committee that funds the Department of Veterans Affairs, said Thursday that he expects the court system to end up deciding whether the Biden administration has the power to change policy.
“In the past, we had to put in place legislation, especially for in vitro fertilization. And now all of a sudden, they’re talking about VA abortion services, so I don’t think they have the authority to do that,” Bozeman said.
Bozeman said the specific situations in which veterans’ assistance can provide abortions to ensure a woman’s life or health are “extremely ambiguous.” “For this reason, I think I and many others are very concerned,” he said.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who said shortly after the announcement that the decision was “grotesque and illegal,” said this week that he expects a future Republican president to rescind the policy if it continues that long.
“Well, if the current president changes it, the future president can change it again,” said Rubio.
Mexico City Politics
The permutation of abortion policy is not without precedent.
The so-called Mexico City policy, or global gag rule, changes every time control of the White House shifts from one party to the other.
This policy was originally implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, when in effect during Republican presidential terms, preventing NGOs operating in foreign countries from performing or actively promoting “abortion as a method of family planning” if they wanted foreign aid. American.
Montana Democratic Senator John Tester, chair of the VA Committee, said Thursday that he believes the VA has the authority to change abortion policy “because VA is tasked with looking after people.”
However, he expects it will be challenged in court.
“I hope they don’t work because, quite frankly, what the VA has to do is say, ‘Look, there’s a medical procedure we can’t use, so you have to die. “I think that would be a terrible thing, especially since most of the people who work in Virginia are there because of veterans, they’re not there for any other reason,” Tester said.
Democratic Senator for Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, said she expects Republicans to do “everything in their power to stop” the Department of Veterans Affairs from performing abortions on patients whose life or health is at risk, or those resulting from rape or incest.
She said she was confident that the Department of Veterans Affairs had the authority to terminate the pregnancy.
“They will offer abortions until a court order or some legal process tells them they can’t do it,” she said. “But until then they can do it. They will.”
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