On April 19, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, once again, broke with her GOP colleagues to join Democrats in defending pro-abortion policy.
Senate Republicans had hoped to block a new Biden administration policy of using the VA to federally fund abortions in cases of rape, incest or when a mother’s life is at risk.
President Biden announced the policy last September after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
While most Republicans see VA-funded abortions as a violation of federal statute, they were not able to secure the 51 votes needed to pass the legislation and send it to the Republican-controlled House.
Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) joined nearly every Republican in voting to block the VA policy, but GOP Senators Murkowski and Susan Collins (Maine) voted with pro-abortion Democrats to defeat the pro-life measure 48-51.
Had the measure passed the Senate and the House, it would still have needed President Biden’s signature to become law.
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House Republicans argued that the VA policy violates a 1992 law prohibiting the VA from providing abortions unless it is deemed necessary because of a “service-connected condition.”
The Biden administration claims VA abortions are permitted under a 1996 law that directs the VA to give “needed” medical care to veterans.
Supporters of the VA policy counter that it is allowed under a 1996 law that requires the department to give “needed” medical care to veterans.
In voting to block the effort to end VA abortions, Murkowski said she believes the VA policy is in line with the federal Hyde Amendment which bars federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when a mother’s life is at risk.
“I think that the rule itself meets the Hyde requirements, which are pretty much my guidelines there, and I think that the VA has the authority to issue such a rule,” Murkowski told Military.com.