Tuberville Promises To Block DOD Nominees Over Abortion Funding

A Senate Republican is promising to fight back against Joe Biden’s plan to have the Department of Defense (DOD) use taxpayer funds to pay for abortions for service members. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) says that he will work to block all future DOD civilian and general flag officer nominees unless the abortion funding plan is scrapped.

Tuberville wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday in response to a DOD memo that instructs military personnel to “establish travel and transportation allowances for Service members and their dependents” seeking abortions. The new DOD policy was adopted in response to the June decision by the Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade.

Austin’s memo argues that the practical effects of the end of Roe v. Wade will include “significant numbers of Service members and their families” being “forced” to travel, take time off from work, and incur expenses to obtain “reproductive health care,” of course meaning abortions.

Austin concluded that those effects constitute “unusual, extraordinary, hardship, or emergency circumstances” that adversely affect military recruiting and readiness.

Tuberville’s letter to Austin pointed out that previous DOD policy limited government funding for abortions to cases of “rape, incest, or pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother.” The senator added that the DOD has averaged paying for less than 20 abortions annually for many years.

However, Tuberville argued that the new policy would increase taxpayer-funded DOD abortions to as many as 4,100 yearly, not including abortions for military dependents.

He added the “vast expansion” of government-funded abortions will be “made worse by how your plan will provide unrestricted access to abortion.” The policy would provide public funding for travel to states without waiting periods or restrictions on late-term abortions.

Tuberville said that “many Americans find such abortions morally repugnant.”

Tuberville told Austin that the DOD has failed to estimate the cost to taxpayers from the new abortion policy. He said it is irresponsible to implement such a controversial change without due diligence on costs or other impacts on readiness or manpower.

He told Austin that if DOD goes forward with the policy that is “illegal, circumvents Congress, and exceeds your authority,” he will place a hold on all of the department’s “future civilian and general/flag officer nominations.”

In addition to Tuberville’s letter, Reps. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Chip Roy (R-TX) have introduced a bill in the House that would legislatively block the new DOD policy for funding elective abortions.

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