Senate Democrats block GOP resolution that would stop veterans abortion care

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 5:45 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Senate Democrats blocked a GOP resolution from passing Wednesday afternoon that would have stopped abortion care for veterans who receive healthcare through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The vote happened simultaneously with a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the future of the abortion pill Mifepristone. The Supreme Court extended a stay until Friday to stop a Texas ruling that restricts access to medication abortion. That stay will expire at midnight on Friday.

“You know, I woke up this morning wondering what exactly was the moment the Republicans in the Senate no longer believe that I had the right to bodily autonomy?” asked Purple Heart recipient and Iraq War veteran, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) as she rallied against the GOP resolution on the VA.

“Because here’s what I know,” she said, “this country, and those Republicans were certainly alright with me making the choice to use my body as I saw fit when I signed up to fight wars on this country’s behalf. They were just fine for me to decide to use my arms and legs to fly a Blackhawk helicopter into combat. No one minded it. And in fact, honored me when I lost those limbs in defense of this great nation. So I was competent to make those decisions about how I was going to use my body. So my question is, when do the folks arguing anti-choice positions, arguing that we should not allow veterans reproductive health care, when did they think I lost the competence to make decisions about my uterus that they I had about using my arms and legs?”

Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in 2004 when her helicopter was hit by a RPG while serving in Iraq.

She joined her fellow Senate Democrats in the vote against the GOP’s VA Resolution which garnered 48 yays and 51 nays.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) introduced the bill back in February. He argues, the VA’s abortion care policy is illegal because it wasn’t announced until September of 2022. That’s months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional the right to an abortion.

“The VA has never performed abortions. Never have they performed abortions until now. Under Roe Wade the VA never even mentioned it,” he said.

Currently, the VA provides abortion counseling and abortion services for veterans who have experienced rape, incest, and whose life is in danger.