After the Supreme Court’s abortion decision, the Biden Administration made a new rule to have Veteran Affairs facilities provide abortion services for veterans and their beneficiaries.
The rule described abortion as “essential health care.”
On Sept. 9, VA published its Interim Final Rule announcing that VA facilities would “immediately” begin providing a range of abortion services for veterans and their beneficiaries.
According to the new Biden administration rule, abortion is “essential health care” and will be provided as a service by VA staff “just as counseling is offered or covered by VA regarding any other health care decision.”
Stephanie Carter, a Texas nurse at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility has now sued over this policy. Carter said that the new rule violated her religious beliefs – she said those beliefs prohibit her from providing abortion services and counseling that is required by the policy.
The lawsuit seeks to block the policy from being enforced at Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas.
A nurse at a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility in Texas sued the department Tuesday over its decision to offer abortions services in certain cases and abortion counseling to veterans, claiming the new rules violate her religious beliefs.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Waco, Texas, comes months after the VA announced the new rules, which represented one of the very few policy responses from the Biden administration to the Supreme Court’s decision in June to eliminate the federal right to an abortion.
The plaintiff, Stephanie Carter, an Army veteran and nurse practitioner working at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas, claims in the suit that her “sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit her from offering abortion services and providing counseling required by application of the” VA policy.
Though the lawsuit is reportedly one of the first challenges to the new rule, it is not seeking to block the department from enforcing the policy nationwide. Instead, it asks the court to rule that the policy is illegal and unconstitutional and block the department from enforcing the policy at the facility in Temple.
Danielle Runyan, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, the legal firm that filed the lawsuit, blasted the Biden administration saying “the VA should be focused on caring for the men and women who bravely served to protect our country, not on performing illegal abortions.“
Today, First Liberty Institute filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) on behalf of Stephanie Carter, a nurse practitioner at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas, challenging the VA’s failure to comply with federal law.
“It is unconscionable that the Biden administration would force health care workers at VA facilities to violate their consciences,” said Danielle Runyan, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “The VA should be focused on caring for the men and women who bravely served to protect our country, not on performing illegal abortions. The new VA Rule disregards longstanding federal law that prohibits VA clinics from performing abortions and fails to account for the sincerely held religious beliefs of medical providers who are impacted by the Rule.”
Runyan added, “The VA’s enforcement of the Rule at the Temple, Texas facility also subjects Ms. Carter to potential criminal and civil liability under Texas State law.”
Hopefully, more lawsuits like this will come!