Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) continues to block nearly hundreds of U.S. military promotions to force the Department of Defense (DoD) to change its position on reproductive rights. According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the senator’s anti-abortion posturing endangers America’s military preparedness. Moreover, the former football coach has no military experience and claims to support the armed forces. During a televised interview, he told CNN’s Kaitlin Collins, “There’s nobody more military than me.”
Yet, he has kept Senate-confirmed high-ranking military officials from protecting the United States because the DoD’s policies oppose Tuberville’s anti-abortion stance. However, his argument against service members being reimbursed for out-of-state travel for an abortion is inhumane.
Soldiers do not pick and choose where they are stationed. They cannot decide where they serve.
So, if a female soldier needs to terminate her pregnancy but is stationed in an anti-abortion state, she must travel. Since American taxes pay for military healthcare, it is logical that she is reimbursed for related travel expenses.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told CNN: “One in five of my troops…is a woman, and our women provide tremendous value to this force, and I think we need to do everything we can to take care of them.”
Furthermore, Secretary Austin indicated the Pentagon would continue to pay for women to go t other states, if necessary, to get an abortion. He adamantly stated this policy is not about abortion. Instead, it is “access to non-covered reproductive health care policy.”
Nonetheless, Tuberville insists that the Pentagon must scrap the post-Roe v. Wade rule because Congress has not enshrined the travel policy. Furthermore, he vows to block all top military promotions until the policy is rescinded.
Complaints Against Tuberville’s Anti-Military/Anti-Abortion Stance Against Pentagon
Tuberville’s blatant disregard for American safety violates the nation’s core values. VoteVets launched an ad campaign in Alabama criticizing the senator.
The progressive group’s ad said, “For months, one lone senator, Tommy Tuberville, who never served in uniform himself, has held hostage hundreds of military assignments just to force his MAGA social agenda on women in the ranks, freezing all promotions for top military posts to the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, leaving mission-critical positions to go vacant.”
The complaints are more than liberal and progressive anger against the anti-abortion excuses Tuberville is using to keep hundreds of well-deserved military personnel hostage. For example, in May, a complaint against the anti-abortion fanatic was sent to McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that warned: “the current hold that has been in place…is preventing key leaders from assuming important, senior command and staff positions around the world.” According to The Hill, this letter was signed by former Pentagon chiefs William Perry, William Cohen, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, and Chuck Hagel.
Secretary Austin told CNN, “This is a national security issue. It’s a readiness issue. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves. I think any member of the Senate Armed Services Committee knows that.”
Earlier this month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters, “I don’t support putting a hold on military nominations; I don’t support that.” However, when reporters asked if there was any way to resolve the impasse, the highest-ranking Republican responded like he held no power in the Senate. “You’ll have to ask Sen. Tuberville about that.”
Sen. Tuberville has used this anti-abortion, anti-military approach to essentially blackmail the Pentagon since February 2023. This must stop now. As Secretary Austin said, this hold is “irresponsible and unprecedented.”
“This indefinite hold harms America’s national security and hinders the Pentagon’s normal operations. The longer that this hold persists, the greater the risk the U.S. military runs in every theater, every domain, and every Service.”
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
MSNBC: Tommy Tuberville’s tactics, defenses aren’t getting any better; By Steve Benen
Politico: Tuberville rejects GOP attempts to end military promotions blockade; By Alexander Ward, Joe Gould, and Connor O’Brien
AP: Why a single senator is blocking U.S. military promotions and what it means for the Pentagon; By Mary Claire Jalonick and Lolita C. Baldor
NPR: Tuberville is showing how much power one lawmaker wields under Senate rules; By Ron Elving
Insider: Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a former college football coach with no military experience himself, said, ‘There is nobody more military than me;’ By Madison Hall
Twin Cities Pioneer Press: Other voices: Blocking military promotions is unpatriotic; By Bloomberg Editorial Board
American Independent: Sen. Tommy Tuberville keeps breaking his promises to support veterans and the military; By Josh Israel
The Hill: McConnell breaks with Tuberville over blanket hold on military nominees; by Alexander Bolton
Featured and Top Image by Wesley Tingey Courtesy of Unsplash+
First Inset Image by United States Senate Photographic Studio Courtesy of Wikimedia – Public Domain License
Second Inset Image by Colin Lloyd Courtesy of Unsplash
Third Inset Image by USAF Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders for the Department of Defense Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License