Sen. Moran: Department of Veteran Affair’s Prohibition on Abortion Services is the Law, not a “policy decision”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – the lead Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – reaffirmed during a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is by law prohibited from providing abortion services.

“I want to draw attention to a letter I received from Secretary McDonough last week describing VA’s prohibition on abortion services as a ‘policy decision,’” said Sen. Moran. “The letter follows the Secretary’s testimony in March where he described VA-provided abortion services as a ‘regulatory matter.’ What is troubling about these statements is that VA’s prohibition on abortion services is more than a policy decision or regulatory matter, it’s the law.”

[Sen. Moran’s remarks as prepared]

I want to draw attention to a letter I received from Secretary McDonough last week describing VA’s prohibition on abortion services as a “policy decision.” The letter follows the Secretary’s testimony in March where he described VA-provided abortion services as a “regulatory matter.”

What is troubling about these statements is that VA’s prohibition on abortion services is more than a policy decision or regulatory matter, it’s the law.

In 1992, Congress passed the Veterans Healthcare Act, which specifically prohibits VA from providing abortion services.

Accordingly, up until March of this year, VA’s own website stated that VA “cannot, by law, provide abortion services.”

Despite VA’s interpretation of the statutory prohibition on abortion, it has not acted or indicated that it will act on changing its long-standing policy to follow the law as written in regard to abortion. For that reason, I consider it redundant to offer an amendment on this topic that would prohibit funds in this bill to be used to pay for abortions and will not offer one at this time.

That said, it is necessary to defend life by ensuring that VA or any federal agency does not fund or perform abortions. I expect the Department to continue to follow the law and protect unborn children.