WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Twenty-seven Republican senators demanded Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin drop his abortion travel fund that assists military members in traveling to states to kill their preborn babies.
Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville has been leading the charge by blocking unanimous voice votes on military promotions. The nominations are usually approved en masse by a voice vote. The Senate could approve them by holding a roll call vote on each nominee. Hundreds of military officers are waiting approval.
Tuberville’s efforts have received criticism from establishment Republicans including Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Mitt Romney, and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is reportedly working on a way to get around Tuberville’s hold.
In a reversal of fortunes, some senators who criticized Tuberville several weeks ago also signed onto the letter calling for an end to the policy, including Graham.
The senators wrote in their Monday letter:
You have broken your promise to the American people not to politicize the military, and your actions have harmed and threaten to further harm institutional norms within our democracy. On June 28, 2022, four days after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, you issued a memorandum to senior leaders in the Department of Defense (‘Department’) stating that the Department is authorized to pay for government funded, official travel for active duty personnel to receive abortions outside of the state in which they are stationed.
The travel fund was never voted on by Congress – it was simply created by the Department of Defense (DoD) issuing a memo, despite federal law prohibiting taxpayers from paying for abortions for military members and their families.
The senators reminded Secretary Austin:
All legislative power is vested in Congress, and the Executive branch is responsible for implementing and enforcing the law. While the Department may issue regulations, it can only do so under the laws authorized and enacted by Congress. But, Congress never authorized the Department to expend funds to facilitate abortions and, until the Policy was issued, the military never facilitated abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered if the unborn child were carried to term.
Pro-lifers understand that the circumstances of conception do not determine someone’s human rights, and medical experts have confirmed abortion is never medically necessary.
“Now taxpayers – many of whom have deeply-held religious and moral objections to abortions – are on the hook to facilitate the very abortions they fundamentally oppose,” the letter also stated. “Indeed, a Marist poll in January 2023 found that 60% of Americans strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for an abortion, consistent with polls taken throughout recent years.”
The letter notes that there is no proof for the DOD’s claim that abortion is necessary to maintain military readiness. “The Department does not have any data on women being deterred from joining the military for fear of being stationed at an installation or base in a state or nation that has restrictive abortion laws,” Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gil Cisneros testified.
Reportedly, 12 women have used the travel fund so far to kill their preborn babies, according to the Pentagon.
“Seeking to circumvent the Senate prerogative of the informal ‘hold’ practice without addressing the underlying causes – the novel Policy and subsequent refusal of the Majority to bring these nominees to the floor – will not ultimately reconcile this matter,” they wrote. “It could create a toxic precedent with lasting negative effects on future military nominations.”
“Your decision to issue the Policy politicized the military and placed the wants of a few over the needs of the entire nation,” the senators wrote. “Do the right thing. Rescind the Policy now.”
North Carolina Sen. Ted Budd led the letter, which was joined by conservative senators including Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY) and Mike Braun (IN). Several senators who joined with liberals like Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mitt Romney of Utah to criticize Tuberville also signed onto the letter to Austin.
Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan previously criticized Tuberville’s position but also joined in the letter to Austin.
“I strongly disagree with what [Defense] Secretary Austin [and] President Biden have done with their politicization of the military on a whole host of fronts, including the abortion policy, which I think is illegal,” Sen. Sullivan said on the Senate floor on November 1.
That same night, Graham said that instead of Tuberville using his privilege as a senator to place holds, he should file a lawsuit. The Constitution provides for a separation of powers, however.
The travel memo is part of President Joe Biden’s agenda of pushing for abortion through all nine months of pregnancy and funded by taxpayers, even if that means ignoring federal law. In a similar fashion to how the DoD simply ignored federal law in creating the memo, the Biden administration also ignored the Comstock Act, which prohibits mailing abortion drugs.