Members of Congress, conservative leaders back Tuberville’s nominee hold in defense of life and the law.
WASHINGTON — Despite recent claims from the Biden White House stating there is “barely a sound from his GOP colleagues,” support is growing for U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville’s work to demand the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) abandon its radical new policy of funding travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an elective abortion. This is in addition to thousands of veterans from all ranks, all across the country, voicing their support.
Here’s what they are saying:
“Big win for Tommy…Tommy T. is willing to take on the Radical Left Fascists and Thugs that are destroying our country,” said President Donald J. Trump
“I’m here to stand in support of my friend and colleague from Alabama, Senator Tuberville. As he stands in opposition raises his legitimate objection, which I share, to the Department of Defense’s plan to use federal funds to facilitate the performance of abortions… Let this be a message for Secretary Austin, if you want to make the laws, run for Congress, but you can’t legislate from the E-ring at the Pentagon. You cannot do that. Until then, stand down, and leave the lawmaking to lawmakers,” said U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT)
“The Biden Administration is exploiting the United States military to pursue their radical abortion agenda. Republicans must hold the line. At a time when our military is struggling to fill its ranks and replenish weapons stockpiles, our national security resources and American tax dollars should not be used to pay for service members and their dependents to travel to get abortions. Senator Tuberville is standing up for what is right, and I am proud to support him in his efforts against this illegal policy,” said U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS)
“Chuck Schumer can bring this up for a vote anytime he wants to, Secretary Austin can come here and address his concerns anytime he wants to. Senator Tuberville has the right to put a hold on it because he believes something is illegal. He believes that Secretary Austin is going outside of code 1093. 1093 was code, a law that was passed that President Biden, for my colleagues that may not know the history of this, President Biden voted for, that was very clear that allowed exceptions only in three cases for the armed services to pay and assist in any circumstances for an abortion. That’s the law. And if we don’t like the law, then we have the right as a body to change it. But yet we’re ignoring that issue. And if Secretary Austin believes that it is within his authority to do so, then he can come in here with his team of attorneys and Chairman Reed, you can have a hearing on it, and he can explain it to all of us. Or Chuck Schumer can simply bring it to the floor for a vote,” said U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
“Senator Tuberville did the right thing and showed today that this was all politics by the Democrats. And they don’t care that they’re violating the law,” said U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL)
“Sen. Schumer can bring up any one of these nominees anytime he wants. He blinked. He brought up three. He can continue to do that,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
“Listen, he was right to do what he said. The Hyde Amendment is clear. You cannot use a penny of federal dollars in support of abortion. Period. Transportation, any other way. I think it was seven or eight years ago, Hugh, I held promotions as well, because there was a move to take the Guantanamo Bay prisoners and bring them into Charleston, South Carolina. You have to be willing to take a stand. The Senate can at some point override you, and that’s what’s happened recently, but the truth is you only have certain weapons in your arsenal, and I must concede. Under President Biden, holding up promotions is not necessarily a bad thing. What we’ve seen in the top brass in today’s military is too much focus on ESG and DEI and gender issues, vaccine mandates as opposed to war fighting, lethality, and making sure that the resources and the equipment and the training that we need, that’s where the focus of this military should be,” said U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
“The military cannot be an arm of either admin’s social policy. There’s a law that says abortions will not be publicly funded and the Biden administration is circumventing that in a way that destroys credibility in the military,” said U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH)
“If they really wanted a commandant for the Marines, they would just call up the nomination for a vote,” said U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
“I heard so many of my colleagues talk about infusing abortion politics into this. That is exactly what’s wrong. This administration has infused abortion politics into our military, COVID politics into our military, DEI politics into our military and it is a cancer on the best military in the history of the world. Those men and women deserve better than this,” said U.S. Senator Eric Schmitt (R-MO)
“I support him,” said U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)
“I agree [with Senator Tuberville] that the Department of Defense’s policy is atrocious, and it is a departure from decades-long understanding of federal public policy,” said U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD)
“Until these policies are rescinded, I’m going to also have to consider holds against DoD nominees in solidarity with my colleagues,” said U.S. Senator Ted Budd (R-NC)
“[The] Pentagon’s policy using taxpayer dollars to pay for the travel expenses for service members seeking an abortion is wrong and illegal and should be reversed. I hope the administration is working closely with Senator Tuberville to resolve this issue,” said U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
“President Biden is doing everything possible to preserve the practice of murdering unborn Americans, including using our military as an abortion travel agency. We cannot allow these crazy, left-wing priorities to erode our military. The world is an increasingly dangerous place and America’s security requires a strong military capable of deterring–and if need be, defending–our nation,” said U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
“[I]f the secretary of Defense and the president think this is a readiness issue and they want to find the responsible party, they should look in the mirror. They’re the ones who are violating the law and using taxpayer funds to pay for abortion tourism,” said U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR).
“Secretary Austin, come on. Do the right thing,” said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
“Senator Tuberville is not blocking them on the floor. He is just saying you can’t do them by unanimous consent because President Biden has created this new abortion policy out of whole cloth. This is a moment where Senator Schumer is just trying to embarrass Senator Tuberville. Senator Tuberville is strong and passionate about the value of children and sees this as important,” said U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-OK)
“Democrats think they have a winning political thing on this. I don’t think they do, and I think Sen. Tuberville morally is in the right position with regard to the issue of abortion. The [Defense] Department has just as much of a responsibility to find a path forward as any single member does, and I’m not seeing the Department trying to work in any fashion other than to simply put pressure on Sen. Tuberville. They’re not trying to find a path forward. They think this is one of those items where if they keep putting pressure on him, he’ll cave, and I don’t think he will. On the issue, he’s correct,” said U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD)
“I don’t really care what other people think. I’m very comfortable with Sen. Tuberville’s position … It’s within the military’s complete control to fix this and they won’t,” said U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WV)
“We need to get the politics out of the Pentagon — that we should not be utilizing taxpayer dollars in any way shape or form to facilitate a woman who is eight months pregnant, to take the life of the child,” said U.S. Senator Katie Britt
“The Hyde Amendment has been the law of the land since the mid-seventies. But for the Department of Defense to say we’re going to use taxpayer funds to provide transportation and other reimbursement to service members for abortion at taxpayer expense is beyond their authority,” said U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
“LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-04)
“Senator Tuberville has been holding the line in the Senate for paying for abortion travel for military personnel. We stripped that out in the NDAA with an amendment. Now Tuberville has 217 House members saying, Hey, we’re standing with you, sir,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL-02)
“DoD should be focused on strengthening our military forces, not the abortion industry. Thank you, Senator Tuberville,” said U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX-27)
“Good for Senator Tuberville. This is a rare example of courage in Washington,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC-08)
“[The Pentagon will] certainly lose. I get that [the Pentagon is] trying to find a crafty workaround, but it’s a blatant violation. Insistence upon diving into issues outside of simply maintaining a lethal and capable fighting force is tearing our military apart,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA-04)
“The Pentagon’s job is to develop our men and women in the Armed Forces into a united, lethal, and battle-ready force to defeat our enemies and defend our interests. It is not supposed to be a woke social engineering experiment wrapped in a uniform. We need to refocus our military on what it’s supposed to do, which is blow things up and kill people… Our military is not a political pawn for the left’s social agenda. House Republicans have the power of the purse and we should use it,” said U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21)
“Taxpayer funding of travel for an abortion is in fact taxpayer-funded abortion. Abortion is the sole reason for these travel expenses, and this is in clear violation of existing law,” said U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX-13)
“Due to the boldness and courage of Senator Tuberville, House Republicans have unified to pass Rep. Ronny Jackson’s NDAA amendment to protect life. Joe Biden and Secretary of Defense Austin violated the longstanding norm that the federal government would not use taxpayer dollars in order to facilitate elective abortions,” said U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL-01)
“Joe Biden has allowed the DoD to become a national abortion facilitator for service members – even in states with pro-life law in place,” said U.S. Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA-06)
“I am proud to stand with his efforts,” said U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03)
“You’ve got to remember it never was the policy of the Pentagon that you pay — abortion was always– was never on the table. And so, the Biden administration brought politics into the mix. And that’s why Tuberville has been responding, the way he has. He is pushing back with the Administration and saying, you know, ‘Let’s not play politics with this,” said U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL-04)
“…what the military’s policy is, is not following U.S. law. They are using tax dollars. They are funding abortion tourism, which is not an appropriate thing for the military to be doing. So I think our Republicans in Congress should just take a stand on this. The DOD should stand down. We have all these other problems in our military. You know, we need more ammunition. We need more recruiting. We need all these other things, and yet they’re focusing on abortion tourism. So that’ll be an easy thing for me, day one as commander-in-chief. That policy will go out the window, and we’re going to focus on mission accomplishment again,” said Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis
“I commend Senator Tuberville… The very idea that generals at the Pentagon on some liberal Democrat agenda are using taxpayer dollars to undermine state laws for protecting unborn children is just wrong.” said Presidential candidate Mike Pence
“I agree that Biden is hurting military readiness because he’s choosing politics over national security,” said Presidential candidate Doug Burgum
“A woke military is not going to be a successful military. Senator, thank you so much. Keep up the good fight,” said Laura Ingraham, Fox News Host
“Mr. Tuberville should be applauded, not derided, for protecting the authority of every lawmaker, from either party, to make laws for the people they are elected to represent,” said Kristen Ullman, President of Eagle Forum
“So, if woke stooges Biden and Austin want their Pentagon abortion-on-demand policy to continue, they need to get it codified into law. Until then, the Senate should debate each nominee on the merits and vote on them one by one. Thank you Coach Tuberville for your inspirational leadership – and doing your job,” said David Bossie, President of Citizens United
“Thank you, Senator Tuberville, for opposing Biden admin’s unlawful abuse of tax dollars for defense to support the killing of unborn human beings! You are right to uphold the law and support our military against those who would further politicize it,” said Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch
“Thank God for Senator Tuberville for picking this fight over DOD using taxpayer $$ to pay for abortions,” said Russ Vought, President of Center for Renewing America
“Every Republican Senator needs to stand with Senator Tuberville. DoD Secretary Austin’s recent letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren is typical Biden admin. propaganda. Tuberville’s hold on 650 officers is not the problem; Austin’s 4,100 abortions are the problem. If readiness was an issue, Austin would not have drummed out 8,000 troops over the COVID vaccine, nor would the military be focusing on pronoun usage and drag queens. Thank God for Senator Tuberville standing up to the Pentagon’s disinformation,” said Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council
“The U.S. military exists to ensure our nation’s security and protect the lives of the future generations of American citizens—not end them through the barbaric and evil practice of abortion. Americans don’t want their tax dollars funding abortion. For decades, until the radical policies of the Biden-Harris regime, there was bipartisan consensus among lawmakers on this point. It takes courage to stand up to the Washington establishment, and that’s exactly what Sen. Tommy Tuberville is doing. The Heritage Foundation is proud to stand alongside him and asks all U.S. senators to do the same until the Defense Department’s radical abortion policy ends. Additionally, House lawmakers should hold oversight hearings on the legality of this Defense Department initiative, which Biden officials admit will increase the number of taxpayer-funded abortions from 20 to more than 4,000 each year. That’s unconscionable,” said Dr. Kevin Roberts, President of Heritage Foundation
“Not only is the Defense Department’s policy to facilitate taxpayer-funded abortions completely out of touch with the American people and their values, but it is also dangerously counterproductive to the Pentagon’s goals of protecting national security and deterring war. Especially with rising threats from adversaries like China, the last things the American people want the Defense Department to focus on are facilitating abortions or pushing a Left-wing political agenda. Unless senators fight back, this policy will dramatically increase taxpayer-funded abortions and potentially threaten the lives of thousands of unborn children. Heritage Action and grassroots Americans across the country applaud Sen. Tuberville for taking a courageous stand to defend life, and we encourage all senators to join his efforts to end the Defense Department’s radical abortion-for-all policy,” said Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Heritage Action for America
“As a veteran, I’m thankful that Senator Tuberville is standing his ground to hold DOD accountable for its woke & weaponized agenda that is turning DOD into a political agency, instead of focusing on warfighting & lethality, in order to protect us all,” said Wade Miller, Veteran and Executive Director of Citizens for Renewing America
“Biden’s DoD has misaligned priorities, pushing abortion on our service members. Thankfully, Senator Tuberville is fighting back!,” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America
“Tommy Tuberville is the hero we need right now. The Defense Department can’t repair its subs, can’t figure out supply chain logistics for weapons, but will use all its money to pay for abortions. Good for Tuberville for standing up to the insanity,” said Erick Erickson, Fox News Contributor
“We appreciate your announcement that you will place a hold on all DOD civilian and general/flag officer nominations if the Department of Defense implements the policy. Further, we are grateful to you and Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX) for introducing a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn another egregious abortion policy in Veterans Affairs that would pay for abortions in violation of federal law. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs must not be corrupted by destroying rather than saving lives,” said Eric Johnston, Director of Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, John Wahl, Chairman of Alabama Republican Party, Eunie Smith, President of Eagle Forum of Alabama, Marty Connors, Director of Center-Right Coalition Alabama, Greg Davis, President and CEO of Alabama Citizen’s Action Program, Ashley Liveoak, Executive Director of Choose Life Alabama
“The Swamp is hopping mad at Senator Tuberville for his hold on military promotions. They can cope and seethe all they want, but his cause is righteous,” said Saurabh Sharma, President of American Moment
“Tuberville has capitalized on an issue important to him. And unless the Senate wants to carbonize weeks and weeks on routine, non-controversial promotions, Tuberville is so far prevailing in his protest over the military’s abortion policy,” said Chad Pergram, Senior Congressional Correspondent for Fox News
“There are many things that are necessary to deal with the rising military threat from China, from new-generation weapons to an updated nuclear triad. Needless to say, abortion on demand is not one of them,” said Rich Lowry, Editor in Chief of National Review
“The Pentagon could easily move the holds through by eliminating the policy or forcing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold a vote on the issue,” said Katie Pavlich, Editor of Townhall
“The point here is that within the last few years, Democrats on Capitol Hill have inserted plainly political measures into the NDAA and have blocked military promotions en masse for political reasons. Remember that when you hear some of those very same Democrats complaining that today’s Republicans are “politicizing” the defense process,” said Byron York, Chief Political Correspondent of the Washington Examiner
“It was Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, not any Republican, who broke with 45 years of policy last year by instituting effective reimbursements for elective abortions by military and dependents. It is just as true to say, probably truer, that the president is the one holding up military promotions by unilaterally trashing policy that has been in place since 1980,” said David Harsanyi, Senior Editor of the Federalist
“If Senate Republicans are truly the pro-life champions they claim to be, they have no choice but to back Sen. Tommy Tuberville as he fends off the Biden administration’s abortion extremism,” said Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer for the Federalist
“As a mom of a young man who will soon be an Army second lieutenant, I am appalled that Joe Biden is disregarding the law and using money that should go for military readiness, training and weapons for our troops to satisfy his political payback to abortion radicals,” said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America LAC
Tuberville “is standing up for life and the Biden Administration’s assault on the innocent, which is the same position I would support in the Senate,” said Frank LaRose, Candidate for U.S. Senate
“Congressman Mooney supports Senator Tuberville’s hold on all civilian nominations and military promotions until the Department of Defense rescinds its policy to facilitate taxpayer-funded abortions,” said spokesperson of U.S. Rep(R-WV-2) and Candidate for U.S. Senate Alex Mooney
“Tuberville is a great example” of “asserting his individual power and making them come to him,” said Scott Parkinson, Candidate for U.S. Senate
Abortion “is a state-level issue, and it belongs at the state level. Right? I mean, this is where I actually agree with Sen. Tuberville, is that he’s holding up 250 flag and general officer promotions,” said Hung Cao, Candidate for U.S. Senate
“Thank you, Senator Tuberville, for continuing to stand strong for life and against the Department of Defense’s unlawful new policy that uses taxpayer dollars to facilitate elective abortions… All Republicans should join Senator Tuberville in standing against DoD’s illegal expansion of taxpayer-subsidized abortion,” said SBA Pro-Life America
“The nation’s largest women’s public policy organization is proud to stand with you, Senator Tuberville. At least 2 other Senators in the past 5 years have used the same strategy, but Senator Tuberville is the ONLY one to use this power to save thousands of lives. Go Coach Go! Senator Tuberville is taking his job seriously and fighting for the American people,” said Concerned Women for America LAC
“Despite, pushback, Senator Tuberville is standing strong against the new DoD abortion policy. Help Senator Tuberville protect unborn lives, preserve congressional authority, and prevent our military from becoming an abortion business. Add your name in support [link to petition],” said Family Research Council
“The U.S. military should not take sides in the abortion debate, much less use taxpayer funds to facilitate abortion. Let’s hope Secretary Austin will reverse his pro-abortion memo to protect the integrity of the military and truly help families and children – not extinguish them,” said Focus on the Family via the Daily Citizen
“Conservatives applaud Sen. Tommy Tuberville for standing against the Biden administration’s attempts to politicize the military by turning it into an abortion advocacy organization. We urge all conservative senators to stand with him,” said Conservative Action Project
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022, the Department of Defense claimed in a memorandum that the ruling would “have significant implications for…the readiness of the Force,” but provided no evidence to support this conclusion. On July 15, 2022, Senator Tuberville and Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) sent a letter calling on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to justify the assertion. The letter went unanswered.
On October 20, 2022, Secretary Austin released another memorandum entitled “Ensuring Access to Reproductive Health Care.” The memo outlined the Department of Defense’s intent to develop policies, procedures, and programs to expand taxpayer-subsided abortion in the military beyond what is currently allowed under federal law.
On November 28, 2022, Senator Tuberville and his Republican SASC colleagues sent an additional letter to Secretary Austin asking him to explain the October memo and the Department of Defense’s justification for the potential expansion of its abortion policy. In the letter, the senators warned, “The Department’s actions send the implicit message to our service members that pregnancy is a liability to the force and our military’s success hinges on access to abortion. This is an egregious mistake.” Again, the letter went unanswered.
The Department of Defense finally scheduled a briefing for Senate offices on November 17, 2022, about the Department’s memorandums and potential policy changes. However, the briefing was abruptly canceled. In response, on December 5, 2022, Senator Tuberville placed a hold on DoD nominations until the Pentagon rescheduled the canceled briefing and responded to questions about the military’s memos on reproductive care.
Within 24 hours, the DoD rescheduled the staff briefing, and it occurred on December 7, 2022. During the rescheduled briefing for members of Senator Tuberville’s staff, Department of Defense officials revealed their intent to announce a new policy that would cover travel and leave for service members and their dependents seeking abortions. Following the briefing, on December 9, 2022, Senator Tuberville notified Secretary Austin that he would place an additional hold on Department of Defense nominees if the Department implemented its abortion plan, which Senator Tuberville believes is illegal.
The department’s authority to fund abortions is governed by 10 U.S.C. 1093, which limits abortions to cases of rape, incest, or pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother. These rules apply to both service members and their spouses and dependents. Given this provision, the Department of Defense has averaged fewer than 20 abortions per year, with 91 abortions at military facilities occurring between 2016 and 2021. According to a third-party study cited by officials, the number of abortions subsidized by the Department of Defense under the new policy could increase to 4,100 annually — 205 times the number of abortions performed in recent years.
Without responding to Senator Tuberville’s pledge, Secretary Austin released another memorandum on February 16, 2023, announcing the formal implementation of the abortion policy to fund travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an abortion, despite existing law.
On March 8, 2023, Senator Tuberville followed through with his pledge to hold all general and flag officer nominations on the Senate floor. Senator Tuberville defended his hold on the floor again on March 23, 2023.
Senator Tuberville’s hold forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order instead of approving them in batches by unanimous consent, which can be considerably faster. The nominations can still be approved by the Senate, but the Majority Leader must make additional time for them to be considered on the floor.
Contrary to claims by Democrats, Senator Tuberville’s hold is not unprecedented. The tactic has been threatened and used by senators from both parties for decades. Just a few weeks ago, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) threatened to hold Pentagon nominees because he was upset his home state lost a competition to house U.S. Space Command headquarters — to Alabama. Despite what Senator Bennet has said on the Senate floor, this hold would have affected six nominees.
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.