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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Female service members being able to abort their babies is more important than confirming military promotions, a spokesman for President Joe Biden appeared to say during a recent press briefing. He also likened the supposed right to abortion for female members to a “covenant.”

John Kirby, who formerly served as a spokesman for the Pentagon, is now in a similar role for the National Security Council.

He appeared to mock a question from EWTN’s Owen Jensen about the Pentagon’s abortion travel memo, which created out of whole cloth a new policy that paid for military members to have abortions in other states if they were stationed in a state with restrictions. Alabama Republican U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville has placed a hold on military promotions until the Pentagon rescinds the memo.

Kirby first denied the memo violated the law.

However, a 1984 law, as explained by Republicans, prohibits the Department of Defense from funding abortions for military members. “Funds available to the Department of Defense may not be used to perform abortions except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or in a case in which the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest,” the law states.

“[It’s] perfectly legal,” Kirby claimed. “It’s just wrong” and a “lie” and a “falsehood,” Kirby claimed, to say the memo is illegal.

He claimed female service members have “every right” to travel for an abortion on the taxpayer dime.

Jensen then pushed Kirby on why the White House is favoring abortion over “national security.” The administration has claimed Tuberville’s hold, which has left over 300 military officer positions open, creates a national security risk. Kirby later reiterated this point in his response.

In response, Kirby began speaking in a sarcastic tone and appeared to admit that abortion is more important to the White House.

“If national security is truly at risk… then isn’t keeping that abortion policy in place, in effect superseding national security?” Jensen asked. Kirby appeared flummoxed by the question.

“You want to get the nominations through, right? You take back the policy,” Jensen said, before Kirby interrupted.

“So the suggestion is we should just… turn our backs… on 1 in 5 of every person in the United States military, let alone their family members, just so we can get these officers confirmed, that’s the suggestion that I think you’re elucidating. And that just would be an egregious violation of the covenant that we make, the military makes, with the people that sign up and volunteer,” Kirby said.

Kirby said the military has “every right to expect that they’re going to get the health care they need,” he said, before adding a “healthy force is a ready force.”

He then said that Sen. Tuberville is “the one impairing national security.”

“Not only because he’s depriving the military of necessary leadership in the field and at sea, but he’s also willing to deprive female members of the military, 20 percent of the force, from necessary health care, that, both, is a violation of national security.”

He told Jensen he “can’t possibly predict” how it will end, but he wants Tuberville to “lift his ridiculous hold.”

President Joe Biden and his team are not the only ones who oppose Tuberville’s hold. Long-shot Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, polling around 7 percent, has said she opposes the policy but also opposes the Alabama senator’s efforts to stop it.

She said “we don’t need to be using military families as political pawns,” referencing her own husband’s service in the South Carolina National Guard, during an interview in early September.

She also told Hugh Hewitt in August that she “appreciate[s] what Tuberville’s trying to do. I do. Like it’s totally wrong that the Department of Defense is doing this” but added “[d]on’t hold, you know, don’t make us have to do this. I just think it shouldn’t get to this point.”