Women Veterans Bill of Rights Bill Presents Abortion Concerns

National   Steven Ertelt   Nov 29, 2010   |   12:56PM    Washington, DC

The House of Representatives will consider a bill this afternoon that presents pro-life advocates with concerns about abortion and funding abortions with taxpayer dollars.

HR 5953, the “Women Veterans Bill of Rights,” contains language would establish a list of 24 rights for women veterans of the armed services to be “displayed prominently and conspicuously in each facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs and distributed widely to women veterans.” 

The rights women veterans “should have” according to HR 5953 include the rights to health care and health care providers. Although that sounds innocuous, one pro-life source on Capitol Hill told LifeNews.com this morning that the rights “could then be used as a basis to require funding for abortion and access to abortion at veterans facilities” in much the same way ObamaCare contained little or no prevention of abortion funding.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not currently do abortions and abortions are currently excluded from the VA health benefits package, because abortion is excluded from the scope of “general reproductive health care” under the law that guides the department.

“But that exclusion does not extend a prohibition to other authorities created by earlier or later legislation,” the pro-life source explained, and “this bill could lay the groundwork and legal precedent for the VA to provide abortions in the future.”

The legislation contains a right to “coordinated, comprehensive, primary women’s health care” that the pro-life source informed LifeNews.com “could provide a legal basis to require funding for abortion because this language would be in conflict with current policy.” Also, a right to a “primary care provider who can meet ALL her primary care needs, including gender-specific” could “be used to mandate access to abortionists at every VA health facility.”

The “right to innovation in care delivery” raises concerns about the provision of “telemed abortions” through which abortion pills are dispensed without a physician present. That has been a concern of pro-life advocates ever since Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards visited an Iowa affiliate and said the state’s first-in-the-nation approach is an eventual nationwide model.

The pro-life advocate also told LifeNews.com that the bill’s “right to request and get treatments by clinicians with specific training and experience in women’s health issues” could be a used as grounds “to demand access to an abortion provider and could create a funding conflict as well because it implies a right to have abortion paid for.”

The Women Veterans Bill of Rights legislation also contains rights to “Gender equity,” “equal access” and “parity” which the pro-life source says “could also give rise to abortion access and funding demands.”

“In the past, pro-life groups have opposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) unless an abortion exclusion is added for this reason.  The most recent example, New Mexico’s ERA was used as a legal basis for the courts to require state funded abortions,” the pro-lifer explained.

The legislation, which is ceremonial but could have lasting policy ramifications, would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to display in each facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs a Women Veterans Bill of Rights. The measure is sponsored by California Rep. Russ Filner, a pro-abortion Democrat.