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Senator Tommy Tuberville Ends His Military Blockade Protesting DoD's Abortion Policy

Since February, the Alabama Republican has prevented the confirmation of more than 400 military appointments

Senator Tommy Tuberville Ends His Military Blockade Protesting DoD's Abortion Policy

Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has ended his one-man protest against the Department of Defense’s abortion-related travel subsidy.

Tuberville’s refusal to participate in confirmations until a vote was held to codify the policy delayed over 400 military promotions in the last year. His protest blocked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer from holding voice votes, which is an expedited process. The Senate was still able to confirm military leaders on an individual basis through a lengthier process that Democrats claimed would take hundreds of hours. 

The Senate confirmed three senior military officers President Joe Biden appointed to lead the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps on Nov. 3.

The Republican announced on Dec. 5 that he will end his protest, which began in February of 2023.

“I’m not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer. We just released them, everybody,” Tuberville told reporters, according to The Wall Street Journal. “I think about 440 of them, everybody but 10 or 11, four stars.”

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who instated the policy wherein the Defense Department covers the cost of travel incurred by service members who leave their state of residence for an abortion, has repeatedly criticized the senator.

“Because of this blanket hold, starting today, for the first time in the history of the Department of Defense, three of our military services are operating without Senate-confirmed leaders,” said Austin on Aug. 14, per NBC News. “This is unprecedented, it is unnecessary, and it is unsafe. … This sweeping hold is undermining America’s military readiness.”

Tuberville’s objection to the policy and subsequent hold on military promotion was also denounced by Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington. Smith said he and other members of his party would not be open to revising the National Defense Authorization Act to delete the abortion travel policy.

“No, screw him. He lost, and he’s trying to tear down this country because he disagrees with the policy,” the congressman told reporters, per Politico.

Senate Republicans appealed to Tuberville to end his blockade on Nov. 1.

“Why are we putting holds on war heroes?” asked Senator Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who is a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Colonel, after Tuberville objected to 61 confirmations individually in one day. “I don’t understand.”

Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina told Tuberville he should sue the Department of Defense rather than continue his blockade.

“I cannot simply sit idly by while the Biden administration injects politics in our military from the White House and spends taxpayers’ dollars on abortion,” said Tuberville, per AP News.

Conservatives thanked Tuberville for his nearly ten-month protest.

Cheers to [Senator Tuberville] for taking his strong, courageous, and principled stand,” wrote Mike Davis, former Chief Counsel to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, on X. “He sent a powerful message to the Pentagon: The military brass wants to politicize our military? They want to ignore civilian control? Then they can wait in line to get their stars.”

“We're proud of the stand that [Tuberville] took on behalf of the preborn,” wrote Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life, in another post. “Every day he stood firm was a message sent to Washington that the lives of America's preborn are worth defending, even if Joe Biden and his Pentagon don't think so.”

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