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(LifeSiteNews) – Archbishop Timothy Broglio for the Military Services, USA and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) penned a scathing rebuke of the U.S. Senate’s recent vote in favor of adding abortion coverage to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) health benefits packages while also urging Congress to stop the implementation of the policy.

In a Thursday press release, Broglio and Diocese of Arlington, Virginia Bishop Michael Francis Burbidge, the USCCB’s chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, blasted the U.S. Senate’s 51-48 Wednesday vote in favor of rejecting the Congressional Review Act resolution that would have overturned the VA’s new pro-abortion policy, attaching also in the release a copy of the letter they sent on behalf of the USCCB to Congress.

“It is a gross failure that the Senate did not pass this lifesaving resolution,” the bishops wrote in their release. “Our heroes and their dependents deserve quality health care services, instead of policies to end the lives of their own children.”

“Many veterans face tremendous life challenges, especially as the active duty experience too often involves significant mental health traumas and can be followed by a difficult readjustment to civilian life,” continued the prelates, adding that “[i]t is inhumane to provide fully taxpayer-funded abortion (which itself can increase mental health risks) as a so-called solution to pregnancy, instead of resources needed to welcome a child and flourish as a family.”

The bishops then called on “Congress to prevent implementation of this harmful policy, and to provide instead real support for our military veterans and their loved ones.”

In their full letter to Congress, the bishops further urged federal lawmakers to “overturn the DOD (Department of Defense) and VA decisions, and to direct the DOD and VA to offer real support to women, children, and families in need to empower them to have a positive future.”

“The DOD’s new policy, including provision of administrative leave and paid travel allowances for servicemembers to obtain elective abortions, announced without notice and comment rulemaking, violates the Administrative Procedure Act as well as the text and intent of 10 U.S.C. 1093, which forbids taxpayer funding of elective abortions,” they added. 

Broglio and Burbidge also touched upon the policy’s attack on the rights afforded to religious beliefs in America, mentioning that the provision “fails to respect the conscience of commanders who are obliged to grant the necessary administrative leave and funding to those seeking to end a human life.”

They also mentioned that the VA policy poses a threat to state law, as it would allow “abortions up until birth even in states where they are illegal.”

In their concluding remarks, the prelates once again pleaded:

Our heroes are in need of authentic health care. Responding by turning veterans’ hospitals into illegal abortion providers is unconscionable. We urge you to overturn or defund implementation of this interim final rule.

Please work together to better serve those women and men who serve us all, and their families, and know of our prayers for your important work, and for our military personnel.