Antiabortion Objections Help Delay 'Women Veterans Bill of Rights' in House
National Partnership for Women and Families: A bill in the House would establish a "women veterans bill of rights." Republicans are attempting to block the bill, stating that it would provide a legal basis for mandating abortion coverage. Advocates of the bill say that it will allow women who get pregnant and are serving overseas an opportunity to get an abortion if necessary.
"After Republicans raised concerns about access to abortion services and other issues, House leaders on Monday postponed debate on a bill (HR 5953) that would require Department of Veterans Affairs facilities to display a "Women Veterans Bill of Rights," CQ Today reports. A senior Democratic aide said the bill is likely to be considered today. The bill, sponsored by Veterans' Affairs Committee Chair Bob Filner (D-Calif.), would direct VA facilities to prominently display a list of 24 rights guaranteed to female veterans. The list includes "the right to request and get treatment by clinicians with specific training and expertise in women's health issues." Republicans opposed to the bill argue that the statement could establish a legal basis for mandating abortion coverage and would require the department to hire abortion providers.
The measure was scheduled for floor consideration on Monday under suspension of the rules, which expedites the process by limiting debate on amendments. The procedure also allows the bill's floor manager to call up an amended version of the bill. The House was expected to consider a modified version of the bill that would include language from a separate measure (HR 5428) -- also sponsored by Filner -- that would require VA to also display an 'Injured Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights.'"