More than 130 Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, signed a letter to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough asking him to provide assurances that the VA won’t attempt to change its rules to provide abortion or abortion-related services under the new administration.
The letter comes after McDonough said in a March hearing that he did not plan to change the current ban on the VA providing abortion or abortion counseling, though he maintained the right to do so. Rosendale said in an interview with Fox News that the purpose of the letter is to ensure “there is no misunderstanding or misinterpretation” on the issue.
“During a recent hearing before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, you stated that you do not plan to pursue public rulemaking to amend that regulation and add abortion or abortion counseling to VA’s medical benefits package. We applaud that assurance,” the letter says.
“It is undoubtedly the right decision for veterans and their unborn children. However, we wanted to make you aware that, in addition to that regulatory prohibition, VA is also prohibited from providing abortion in law,” the letter continues.
The letter cites a 1992 law which says VA hospitals may provide women with pap smears, mammograms and “[g]eneral reproductive health care,” but not “infertility services, abortion, or pregnancy care (including pre-natal and delivery care).”
Rosendale said he wants to get McDonough to say “in writing” the VA won’t provide abortions because the new administration’s “agenda is dramatically different than the pro-life president that we had under the last administration.”
“The Biden administration has given full embrace to the pro-abortion agenda,” Rosendale added.