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Lankford Votes to Block Illegal VA Abortion Rule

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) issued a statement following the Senate voting on the joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify an illegal US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rule that provides abortions through the taxpayer-funded VA health care system, even in states where unborn life is protected. The CRA gives Congress the authority to review major rules issued by federal agencies. The resolution failed by a vote of 48-51.

“Service members are heroes and should get the care they need and deserve from the VA. It’s appalling that the Biden Administration has diverted VA healthcare funding from veteran care to abortion,” said Lankford. “Abortion is not health care, and taxpayers should not be funding it, especially at our VA health centers. Long-standing federal law is clear, the VA is not allowed to provide abortions. The Senate should speak out when the Administration ignores the law because of their obsession with abortion on demand.” 

Lankford and 67 of his colleagues introduced the Resolution of Disapproval after the VA published the interim final rule in September 2022, just a few months after the Supreme Court issued its decision to reverse Roe v. Wade and return the decision to legislate on abortion to the American people through their elected representatives. Not only does the rule set up VA medical facilities to blatantly violate state laws, it’s also in clear conflict with Section 106 of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, which explicitly prohibits the VA from providing abortion services. Notably, the rule also extends abortions to certain veterans’ dependents and fails to provide any conscience protections for VA medical staff. When the rule was issued last year, Lankford led his colleagues in filing a public comment letter to call out the VA for trying to go around federal and state laws and provide abortions.