A U.S. House bill that could have expanded VA (Veteran’s Administration) involvement in performing, procuring and counseling for abortion was successfully neutered before passage today. Kansas has VA centers in Topeka, Wichita and Leavenworth.
H.R. 5953 — a Woman Vets ‘Bill of Rights’--requires information about specific services for women and amputees be posted inside VA facilities. It was hurried to a vote today in the lame duck session by order of the Democratic leadership, and National Right to Life had alerted Congress that abortion-exclusionary language was needed.
The necessary language was added before passage. If not approved by the Senate in the next few weeks, the bill will die and not be carried over to the new session. Rep. Chris Smith, the chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said “I am especially pleased that
abortion is not health care under this bill [as amended] and so-called abortion rights are not implied by any of the rights specified in the legislation.”
By law, VA medical benefits are defined “to promote, preserve and restore health” and appropriately should exclude abortion.
In related legislation, the Senate may not get to the Defense authorization bill which contains the Burris amendment. The amendment expands abortions to military bases, overturning a longstanding law protecting taxpayers and military doctors, who unanimously refused to do abortions when the Clinton administration overturned the policy.