GOP Senator To Suspend Defense Nominees Over DOD’s Abortion Policy

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is threatening to place a Senate hold on all Department of Defense nominations if the department does not reverse its plan to fund abortions for service members and their families.

Tuberville announced his intention in a Friday letter to the office of the Secretary of Defense in light of its policy to provide travel and leave expenses for military personnel and their dependents who seek abortions in other states.

A memo filed on Oct. 20 by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the DOD to provide “travel and transportation allowances for Service members and their dependents” who need an abortion.

The policy, a response to the overturning of the Roe v. Wade ruling, ensures that service members who want abortions can get one on defense dollars even when they are stationed in states where abortions are restricted.

The memo maintained that letting service members pay for “reproductive healthcare” out of their pockets hinders the readiness of a highly qualified force.

Tuberville, however, spoke against the plan, which he deems “a severe misuse of taxpayer dollars.” The policy, he believes, will increase DOD-subsidized abortions by up to 4,100 per year. The estimate does not include dependents of personnel.

Tuberville noted that current federal law allows the department to provide funds for abortions when the mother’s life is endangered. Government-funded abortions are also approved in cases of incest or rape. Those provisions are enough, he believes.

Another reason Tuberville gave for kicking against the plan is that it would force tax-paying Americans who are against abortions without restrictions into financing access to what their convictions go against.

“As six states and the District of Colombia have no abortion restrictions, your policy would force taxpayers to finance access to abortions without protections other states have duly enacted such as waiting periods and prohibitions on late-term abortions. Like me, many Americans find such abortions morally repugnant,” he stated in his letter.

Tuberville further accused the DoD leadership of getting distracted by “radical liberal priorities.

Before his response to the DOD’s new abortion policy, Tuberville requested a full briefing on the policy. He had threatened to block nine of President Biden’s DOD nominees until his office received the briefing and after it was held on Wednesday, what he learned solidified his opposition to the plan.

Now, he wants the policy repealed in its entirety and will continue blocking nominees from the DOD until the department backs off the plan.

On his side of the line in Congress are Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Chip Roy (R-TX) who both introduced legislation targeted at formally prohibiting the policy. “Taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund abortions in any way, shape, or form,” Jackson posited in a statement.

Mirroring Tuberville’s views, Jackson also said that the DOD should direct military resources at the growing threats posed by Russia, China and Iran instead of pushing “Democrats’ anti-life agenda.”

Roy also called for an unequivocal opposition to the policy, which he called a “blatantly political decision to disregard Congress and thumb its nose at the black letter of the law.”

According to him, the plan is a disrespect to Congress as well as the concept of separation of powers and “nearly half a century of bipartisan consensus to respect the beliefs of millions of Americans by prohibiting taxpayer dollars from funding most abortions.”

If the department decides to go ahead with the new policy, it will go into effect by the end of the year.