By Jennifer Popik, JD, Director of Federal Legislation
Editor’s note. This appears on page one of the March edition of National Right to Life News.
As the Biden Administration attempts to expand abortion at every turn, Congress has limited options in fighting back so long as President Joe Biden holds the veto pen. One option that Congress has is known as the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Much of the damage the Biden Administration is doing in regards to the life issue relates to the issuing of rules and directives to expand abortion.
In a certain window (usually 60 days of session), if Congress disapproves of a rule, they can work to pass a resolution. If passed and signed, the rule will be nullified and the administration, along with future administrations, would be prevented from enacting something similar.
Action is afoot in both chambers of Congress in regards to one particularly egregious Biden Administration action having to do with abortion and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Representative Michael Cloud (R-TX), along with more than 65 colleagues, introduced a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to nullify a September 9, 2022 Biden Administration VA rule that provides abortion services through the taxpayer-funded VA health care system.
According to Congressman Cloud,
No American should be forced by our government to pay for someone else’s abortion. The Biden administration is abusing its authority and ignoring the law to enforce a radical anti-life agenda. The VA should remain committed to providing care to support the lives of our veterans, not be used as a political tool by the Biden administration to illegally provide taxpayer-funded abortions.
Sen. Tuberville shared similar sentiments stating,
It’s shameful to see the Biden administration continue to find ways to blatantly undermine our laws. The interim final rule from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide taxpayer-funded abortions at its facilities is the latest subversion in a long line of actions from this administration that points to complete contempt for the law. It betrays the convictions of many Americans who value the sanctity of life and don’t want their tax dollars paying for abortions. I am proud to join my colleagues in voicing opposition to this rule and holding the Biden administration accountable.
Several votes on CRAs (on several topics) are expected in March, and it is possible that this CRA could be called up on short notice for a vote in either chamber. And even if this vote could garner a simple majority in both chambers, it would likely face the threat of veto from President Biden.
Since 1992, the VA has been statutorily prohibited from using taxpayer dollars for abortion. In fall of 2022, the administration disregarded this longstanding statutory prohibition on taxpayer funding for abortion at the VA and issued a new rule that includes funding abortion for health reasons.
The undefined reference to “health” will mean as in Doe v. Bolton (the companion case to Roe v. Wade) that abortions can be done for virtually any reason. The Court held in Doe that, “medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”