Coalition on Lawsuit Against VA’s Hasty Abortion Rule
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey this week joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of a Texas nurse against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court Western District of Texas Waco Division. The coalition is asking the court to grant an injunction barring the VA from compelling the nurse and her colleagues to participate in providing any abortion-related services. The nurse filed the lawsuit after she requested a religious accommodation, but the VA informed her there is not a process for such accommodations.
According to the nurse’s lawsuit, the VA is substantially burdening her freedom to exercise her religious beliefs in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In response to President Biden’s directive, the VA on Sept. 9 adopted a new interim rule that makes taxpayer-funded abortions and abortion counseling available for certain veterans and beneficiaries. Those services had previously been expressly excluded from the medical benefits package under VA regulations.
“This administration needs to stop circumventing rulings from the United States Supreme Court to push its liberal agenda,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The issue of abortion is left up to the states, and the Supreme Court was very clear on that.”
“I will always stand for the most vulnerable of our society and the sanctity of life.”
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and returning the authority to regulate abortion to the states—Attorney General Morrisey joined a 24-state brief supporting life in the Dobbs case.
The coalition’s brief filed on Wednesday included the argument that the VA’s rule “sought to override state abortion regulations that took effect after the Dobbs decision.”
“Under our constitutional system, elected representatives in States—not unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies—strike the balance between ‘competing interests’ on abortion,” according to the brief. “The rule attempts to override the balance struck by States. If allowed to stand, the rule will harm the public interest.”
Attorney General Morrisey joined the brief with his counterparts in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah.