In a Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville urged U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to reverse the Department of Defense policy that would provide taxpayer-funded abortions.
“The military has performed abortions for years,” Tuberville said. “All were cases of rape, incest, and harm to the mom. Over the past 40 years, I don’t recall one military person ever complaining that we weren’t performing enough abortions, nor did the military raise alarm that our service men and women were being placed in areas that had restrictive policies on abortion. Poland’s restrictive policies. Japan. Djibouti. All these theaters have [restriction on]abortion policy, yet our military changed the policy to do this job in these different theaters.”
“As of 12 days ago, y’all got the American taxpayer on the hook to pay for travel and time off for elective abortions,” said Tuberville. “And you did not make this with anybody in this room or Congress taking a vote. In fact, this contradicts what Congress has actually voted for. Most of us, some of us in the room, if not all senators that have been complaining about this, have voted for the Hyde Amendment many, many times. But now my colleagues on the left think this abortion issue is good for a campaign, and that’s what this shouldn’t be about. I’m not going to let our military be politicized.”
Tuberville also addressed General Mark Milleyin the SASC committee meeting about the military’s failure to hit its recruiting goals.
“Given what we’ve put our troops through in the past two years, it’s no wonder that the Army missed its goal last year by 15,000 soldiers,” Tuberville said. “General, you know, that is an entire division. We can’t afford that. And it’s getting worse. The Navy and Air Force will probably miss their numbers this year. Yet some of my colleagues claim that the real crisis is my hold on the promotion of 158 generals and flag officers. Mind you, these were promotions that the majority leader can bring to the floor at any time. Those same people claim expanding abortion will make our military stronger. You know, I want to be clear on this. My hold has nothing to do with the Supreme Court decision to the access of abortion. This is about not forcing the taxpayers of this country to fund abortions. That’s been a bipartisan consensus for more than 40 years.”
“I ran for Senate to serve on this committee,” Tuberville stated. “I ran because of my dad. He was a World War II veteran, and he earned 5 Bronze stars and a Purple Heart. And he died on active duty. I ran to support our warfighters. We owe our freedom to our troops. For fifty years, our all-volunteer force has answered the call. I think you would agree to that. Since 1973, we’ve asked a lot of America’s young volunteers to fight in Vietnam, Grenada, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan. They’ve never wavered. In boom times and in bust, young Americans have raised their right hands to defend the Constitution with their lives, if necessary.”
“There are a number of things happening globally that indicate that we could be in a contest on any one given day,” Sec. Austin said. “Not approving the recommendations for promotions actually creates a ripple effect through the force that makes us far less ready than we need to be.”
Sen. Tuberville is single-handedly blocking a handful of military promotions to protest a Pentagon directive that allows service members to provide abortion services to soldiers even in states like Alabama that have banned abortions. Tuberville is holding up 160 promotions, which usually sail through the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“Clearly, on the DoD policy, I absolutely agree with Sen. Tuberville,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican on the committee. “That said, there are a lot of military positions that need to be filled, and so we’re working with leadership and Sen. Tuberville to see what can be resolved.”
HASC Chairman Jack Reed warned that Tuberville’s blockade would disrupt the military “at the highest levels,” but some Republicans are cheering on the former college football coach from the sidelines.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and HELP Committees.