(Press Release) In a statement today, Coach Tommy Tuberville corrected the Democrats and their media allies’ false reporting on Coach Tuberville’s unanimous consent hold on the most senior military nominations.
“From the very beginning of the hold in February, my position has never changed,” Coach Tuberville said. “The hold will remain in place until the Pentagon follows the law or the Democrats change the law. The American people deserve a vote on such an important topic, but Democrats have refused since day one.
The Pentagon could end this today, but they seem to think that illegally facilitating abortion is more important than confirming their generals and admirals.”
Coach Tuberville believes the DoD is circumventing the role of Congress and flouting existing federal law, which narrowly restricts the use of taxpayer funds and DoD facilities being used to provide or facilitate abortions for service members.
Coach Tuberville has stated repeatedly that he will not drop his unanimous consent hold on senior military nominations until the Pentagon either drops its illegal policy or Joe Biden signs into law legislation that makes it legal.
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 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 outlining the Department’s intent to develop policy, procedures, and programs to expand taxpayer-subsided abortion in the military beyond what is allowed under federal statute.
On December 9, 2022, Senator Tuberville notified Secretary Austin that he would place a hold on Department of Defense nominees if the Department implemented this abortion plan, which goes even further beyond what is allowed in statute.
On February 16, 2023, Secretary Austin released another memorandum, this one announcing the formal implementation of the abortion policy to fund travel and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking an abortion.
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’s hold forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order instead of approving them in batches by unanimous consent. 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.
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 dependents. Given this provision, the DoD has averaged less than 20 abortions per year, with 91 abortions at DoD facilities occurring between 2016–2021. According to a third-party study, under the new policy, the number of abortions subsidized by taxpayers through the DoD could increase to 4,100 annually — 205 times the number of abortions performed last year.
Senator Tuberville’s efforts have received strong support from conservative leaders, including:
- Dr. Ben Carson, Founder of American Cornerstone Institute;
- Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America;
- Brian Burch, President of CatholicVote.org;
- Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council;
- Kevin Roberts, President of The Heritage Foundation;
- Jeanne Mancini, President of March for Life Action;
- Jessica Anderson, Executive Director of Heritage Action for America;
- Brent Bozell, Founder and President of Media Research Center;
- Morton Blackwell, Chairman of Conservative Leadership PAC;
- Dean Nelson, Executive Director of Human Coalition Action;
- Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee;
- Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO of Americans United for Life;
- Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., President of The Ethics and Public Policy Center;
- Ken Blackwell, Chairman of Conservative Action Project;
- Mike Berry, Vice President of External Affairs of First Liberty;
- Star Parker, Founder and President of Center for Urban Renewal and Education;
- Paul Teller, Executive Director of Advancing American Freedom;
- David Bozell, President of For America;
- Elaine Donnelly, President of Center for Military Readiness;
- Kelly Shackelford, President/CEO of First Liberty Institute;
- Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch;
- Former U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen, Ohio;
- Diana L. Banister of Sovereign Global Solutions.