February 9, 2024
On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, EPPC scholars Rachel N. Morrison and Natalie Dodson met with government officials in the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to discuss concerns with a rule by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that mandates taxpayer-funded medical benefits coverage of abortion and abortion counseling for veterans and certain beneficiaries.
The rule was a political response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and state laws protecting unborn children. Despite federal law explicitly prohibiting the VA from providing abortions, the VA claims that under its rule, it can provide abortions, even when prohibited under state law.
As the scholars explained,
The VA failed to establish a need for its rulemaking. The rule and its purported preemption of state abortion laws is contrary to law and raises concerns under the major questions doctrine. The VA’s rule has a flawed regulatory impact analysis, overstated its benefits, and failed to consider its harms.
A written version of their comments, submitted to EOP’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is available here (PDF).