The House of Representatives passed, on a voice vote Tuesday night, the Women Veterans Bill of Rights but not before pro-life lawmakers were able to attach an amendment to it to make it abortion neutral.
Pro-life lawmakers and groups have been concerned the rights enumerated in the bill could be used to declare a right to abortion and abortion treatment through the VA.
Lawmakers added a new section that ensures nothing in the bill can be construed to establish a right to certain services listed as exclusions, which includes abortion and in-vitro fertilization.
The bill approved by the House contains new language requested by Rep. Chris Smith, the chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, which ensures nothing in the bill can be construed to establish a right to abortion.
Smith applauded pro-abortion Rep. Filner who included the abortion exemption at the request of pro-life lawmakers.
“I am especially pleased that Chairman Filner’s bill—H.R. 5953—makes absolutely clear that abortion is not health care under this bill and so-called abortion rights are not implied by any of the rights specified in the legislation,” Smith said on the House floor.
“In addition to eliminating any legal grounds for implying a right to abortion access, abortion funding or any other abortion-related activity, the newly added Section 4 also neutralizes any legal effort to use the Women Veterans Bill of Rights as a basis to infer a right to other controversial services such as abortion counseling,” Smith added.
Section 4 of H.R. 5953 states: “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish a right to any service excluded under 38 CFR 17.18, as in effect on the date of
enactment of this Act.”
Specifically the services listed as exclusions under 38 CFR 17.38 as of the date of enactment of H.R. 5953: include Abortions and abortion counseling and in vitro fertilization.
Before the changes. the National Right to Life Committee sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging a no vote on the Women Veterans Bill of Rights. NRLC said it was worried about the potential for the legislation to open up to VA to abortions and, as was the case with ObamaCare, Right to Life says the only way to prevent this is for a blanket provision added to the bill excluding abortion.