Politics

Women Veterans Bill of Rights poses concerns about federal funding of abortions at military hospitals

Pro-life groups are voicing opposition to the Women Veterans Bill of Rights, which they say could result in the federal funding of abortions in military hospitals.

The bill aims to direct the secretary of Veterans Affairs to display the 24 enumerated rights for women veterans — equality, health care, outreach, etc. — at each facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The National Right to Life Committee has mailed a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging them to oppose the measure or include language in the bill banning abortion.

The committee’s frustration stems from definitions of rights it considers ambiguous, and the fact the the bill was never heard in the Committee on Veterans Affairs, where it believes pro-life members would have sussed out any abortion concern.

The specific language concerns deal with the broad wording of these rights:

“[T]he right to a coordinated, comprehensive, primary women’s health care, at every Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility,”

“[A]ccess to a Department of Veterans Affairs primary care provider who can meet all her primary care needs, including gender-specific … health care.”

And “[T]he right to request and expect gender equity in provision of clinical health care services,” and “the right to equal access to health care services as that of their male counterparts.”

Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, told The Daily Caller “This bill enunciates a number of sweeping statutory rights and these are the types of broad phrases that have been construe by courts in the past to encompass abortion.

“Abortion always ends up being covered without limitation, unless Congress explicitly excludes it,” Johnson said. “So you can pull out example after example over the last 30 years, starting with the Medicaid program.”

Other groups that opposed the measure include the Family Research Council and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.