By Elaine Donnelly
President, Center for Military Readiness
STARRS Board of Advisors
Sen. Tommy Tuberville is standing firm in his determination to stop Defense Department travel subsidies for abortions. Pushback against his stand is not surprising, but the vitriol aimed at the Alabama Republican suggests the controversy involves more than just taxpayer-funded abortion.
On Oct. 20, 2022, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a memorandum offering generous time off and travel subsidies for military women and families seeking abortions across state lines. To stop Austin’s unilateral action,
Tuberville put a “hold” on group confirmations of Department of Defense personnel nominations and promotions.
Critics are accusing Tuberville of harming national security, but as Tuberville recently proved, his hold does not preclude confirmation of individual nominations. Both political parties historically have used this legislative “check and balance” option to delay or defeat some executive branch proposals.
Tuberville’s determination has caused heads to explode with disproportionate fury. National Security Spokesman John Kirby launched an impassioned tirade proclaiming the Pentagon’s “foundational, sacred obligation” to subsidize abortions.
Then a trio of top civilian leaders castigated Tuberville in an op-ed and a joint CNN interview.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro accused Sen. Tuberville of “aiding and abetting a communist [government]” and “playing Russian roulette” with the lives of service members. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall complained about “taunting” from a Chinese colonel criticizing our democracy.
America’s military strength does not depend on military women aborting their babies. And the Senate can confirm deserving nominees later if not sooner.
So, what explains the relentless personal attacks on Tuberville?
Consider this. If Austin can get away with subsidizing abortion without a vote of Congress, Pentagon ideologues and outside activists will not stop there.
The same officials who have willingly enlisted in the administration’s campaign for abortion until birth will demand “access” to other controversial services deemed “medically necessary.”
Austin’s memorandum used the keywords “access” or “accessing reproductive health care,” meaning abortion, seven times on three pages.
It is easy to predict where activists and highly paid Pentagon “experts” are going with this. Unless Congress intervenes, DOD abortion travel subsidies will set a precedent for more expenditures not authorized by Congress.
These will include generous time off and travel subsidies for adults and children seeking “gender-affirming care” across state lines. . . . (read more on The Federalist)