If passed, the Women Veterans Bill of Rights (H.R. 5953) will force Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Sec. Eric Shinseki to publicly post the list of the 24 rights for female veterans. The rights must be displayed at every VA facility. The rights include such things as:
- Outreach; and
- Health care.
The bill drew harsh criticism from pro-life groups, however, who took issue with some of the bill’s language. Some groups saw the bill’s language as possibly allowing abortions to be performed in military hospitals but paid for with federal money. The National Right to Life Committee has lobbied U.S. Representatives to either oppose the questionable language contained in the bill or add language specifically banning abortion.
The opposition turned on the pro-life groups considering specific terms as vaguely defined. Further, they claim the Committee on Veterans Affairs never heard the bill. Douglas Johnson is the Legislative Director for the National Right to Life Committee and claims abortion is always included in such bills unless Congress prohibits it. According to Douglas, the language afforded a series of “sweeping statutory rights” he fears courts would interpret as including federally funded abortions.
Bob Filner, the Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman, has allegedly submitted a new version of H.R. 5953, on which the House will vote. This new version supposedly contains language stating nothing in the bill should be interpreted to allow abortions, along with other services such as gender alterations, to be funded with federal money.
There has been no consensus among pro-life groups if Filner’s new bill alleviates their fear. Pro-life groups would ideally want a totally encompassing provision specifically banning abortions.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.