WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — After nine months of standing against the White House, Pentagon, Senate Democrats, and many Republicans, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is giving up his hold on the confirmation of most nominees to U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) positions over the Biden administration’s insistence on subsidizing abortions in the military.
Last October, following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing abortion to be directly banned, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directed the DOD to “establish travel and transportation allowances” for “non-covered” abortions for service members and their dependents, as well as pay for administrative leave and any legal penalties against military medical personnel who “appropriately perfor[m] their official duties.” Federal rules are supposed to prohibit taxpayer funding for most abortions.
In response, Tuberville, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced that he would “hold up every nomination, civilian and flagship officer until you explain to me or retract this policy.” He said at the time that the “one thing a senator can do is stop the wheel from turning, and I hate to do it. But they are not allowed, according to the Constitution, to change this law themselves without running it through Congress.”
The stand provoked intense condemnation from most of Washington, including members of the GOP who nominally identify pro-life yet were sensitive to Democrat accusations of “jeopardizing national security.” In response, Tuberville stressed that he was not preventing Senate Democrats from holding individual votes for individual nominees but rather blocking the chamber from holding en masse votes for large groups of appointees at once. He also noted that Democrats themselves had used the same tactic in recent years without provoking nearly as much noise.
This week, Tuberville announced that he will cease holding up some 400 nominations and only maintain his hold on a much smaller batch of promotions of high-ranking officers, PJ Media reports.
“I’d love to have had five downs in football instead of four, but you can’t do it,” the senator said. “It’s got to be fair for everybody. So that being said, I’m not going to hold the promotions of these people any longer. We just released them.”
The Guardian adds that Tuberville’s decision comes after Senate Democrats “introduced a proposal that would let the Senate make a one-time exception to its rules to confirm the military appointees, and it had garnered enough Republican support that it was going to pass if Tuberville did not shift his position.”
“We had a conference supposedly last week of the House and the Senate getting together and voting on controversial subjects to stay in or go out of the [National Defense Authorization Act],” Tuberville said. “We had no say. The leadership did that.”
Ultimately, the senator said, “we fought hard. We did the right thing for the unborn and for our military” and expressed hope that “we opened their eyes a little bit” to the state of the military.
The Pentagon’s abortion policy is part of a broader focus on infusing the military with “woke” ideology under the Biden administration, which conservative critics say is to blame for ongoing problems with recruitment, confidence, and readiness.