WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — A single U.S. senator is blocking military promotions because he says the Pentagon shouldn’t be paying for the travel of personnel to obtain abortions.
Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is blocking the promotions of high-level military officials to take a stance against the Pentagon’s policy of paying for travel for military members seeking out-of-state abortions.
“As long as I have a voice in this body, Congress will write the laws, not the Secretary of Defense, not the Joint Chiefs,” Sen. Tuberville said. “This is about not forcing the taxpayers of this country to fund abortion. That’s been a bipartisan consensus for more than 40 years.”
Sen. Tuberville says the military already provides abortions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk. And Tuberville says paying for travel for elective abortions is a violation of federal law.
Pentagon officials say Tuberville is jeopardizing national security.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin defended the Pentagon’s position and said Tuberville’s actions will impact military personnel, military families and could prevent the military from filling key positions in the near future including chiefs of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy.
“This policy is based on strong legal grounds and it is not a law, it is a policy,” Sec. Austin said.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer says Tuberville is blocking nearly 200 promotions.
“The senior senator from Alabama is putting the security of America in jeopardy,” Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said.
Officials say the timing is particularly dangerous because a military conflict could happen at any moment.
Austin added, “there are a number of things happening globally that indicate that we could be in a contest on any one given day.”