U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday defending his hold on general and flag officer nominations on the Senate floor in response to a Department of Defense (DOD) policy that uses taxpayer dollars to fund abortions.
The policy in question offers female soldiers in states where abortion is illegal up to three weeks of administrative leave and transportation allowances to receive abortions in different states.
The Pentagon’s decision to assist women in receiving abortions follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision last summer to overturn Roe v. Wade and bring the abortion issue back to the states. This brought into effect laws in many red states that banned abortion, including Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act, which state lawmakers initially passed in 2019.
Tuberville, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that if he were to institute the policy without going through Congress, he would place a hold on nominees, which would slow President Joe Biden’s efforts to fill DOD positions without a formal Senate vote.
In the op-ed, Tuberville responded to criticism from Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who attacked him on the Senate floor last week. Tuberville accused Democrats of being hypocritical about criticizing him for holding DOD nominations when they have done the same thing before.
A bipartisan group in the Senate held up the promotion and transfer of 9,000 Navy and Marine officers in 1992 to urge the Navy to provide evidence that none of the individuals were involved in the Tailhook sexual assault scandal. More senators held military promotions and confirmations in 1997, 2003, 2010 and 2020.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) even threatened to hold Pentagon nominees earlier this year in opposition to moving U.S. Space Command headquarters to Alabama.
Tuberville also insisted that his hold does not keep military personnel from being confirmed but rather prevents nominees from being confirmed in large groups, making the process more difficult.
“Democrats haven’t explained how abortion makes our military stronger or safer,” Tuberville wrote. “The only war they are focused on winning is the culture war.”
Read the full op-ed here.