Archbishop of military services condemns new rule allowing abortion at VA medical centers

Archbishop Broglio Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services. | EWTN News In Depth

After the U.S. Senate approved a Department of Veterans Affairs rule that provides for abortions at the department’s medical centers, the archbishop of military services issued a scathing letter condemning the Senate and the Biden administration. 

The Senate voted 51-48 to affirm the new rule, which ensures VA medical centers provide abortion when the life or health of the mother is deemed to be at risk or in cases of rape or incest, regardless of state restrictions. The VA will also offer abortion counseling at medical centers. The rule does not have any conscience protections for doctors or other health care workers who object to providing abortions. 

In a pastoral letter, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who also serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was “deeply saddened” by the Senate’s action. 

Broglio also condemned a Department of Defense policy that provides taxpayer funding for employees, spouses, and dependents to cover travel costs associated with procuring an abortion in another state if they are stationed in a state with abortion restrictions. 

“The policy and rule, now in effect, are morally repugnant and incongruent with the Gospel, which the faithful are commissioned to share throughout the world (Mt 28:19),” Broglio wrote.

“Moreover, the new DOD policy and VA rule fail to incorporate basic conscience protections, thus creating First Amendment pitfalls for military commanders and VA employees.”

Broglio cited Pope Francis, urging the Catholic faithful to refuse to participate in abortion. 

“With this letter, I implore the faithful of this archdiocese to continue to advocate for human life and to refuse any participation in the evil of abortion,” the archbishop said. “As Pope Francis instructs, our defense of the innocent unborn must be ‘clear, firm, and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development.’ He has referred to the crime of abortion as hiring a hitman.”

Broglio added that Christians “must also be mindful of our Christian duty to exercise radical solidarity with mothers and families experiencing a challenging pregnancy.” He also encouraged “wide participation in, and support for, compassionate, post-abortive healing ministries, such as Project Rachel, so that those who have experienced abortion may receive healing and spiritual renewal through Christ’s infinite mercy.”

Some Republican lawmakers have voiced frustration with the Biden administration’s abortion policies related to the military. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, has led an effort to hold up military appointments that need Senate confirmation in protest of the policies. 

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