Defense Secretary Says Senator’s Abortion-Related Blocks Could Hurt Military Readiness
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified Tuesday that blocked nominations for senior Pentagon personnel "makes us far less ready than we need to be." Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, says he will continue to block nominees until the abortion policy to cover travel costs for service members or their families is changed.
Austin Confronts GOP Senator For Blocking Military Nominations Over Abortion Policy
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Tuesday that military readiness could be impaired by the growing list of senior military nominations being blocked by Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville over his opposition to a Pentagon abortion policy. ... Tuberville has been blocking military nominations since last month, over a Pentagon policy that covers the travel costs of service members seeking abortions in states outside of where they are stationed if their base is located in a state that bans the procedure. (Martinez and Murray, 3/28)
Republican Senator Draws Blowback For Blocking Military Promotions Over Abortion Policy
A Republican senator is drawing bipartisan criticism for stalling promotions for over 150 military generals and flag officers in protest of a new Defense Department policy that provides travel expenses and paid time off for service members and their dependents seeking abortions. The Senate must approve the promotions of top-level officers and generals, a task that is typically quick and smooth. But any one senator can throw sand in the gears, and Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., is using a procedural tactic to block the speedy consideration of 158 generals and flag officers, as well as two civilian nominees. (Thorp V, Kapur and Gains, 3/28)
The Washington Post:
Pentagon Chief Warns Senate Amid Abortion-Policy Showdown
The nominations can still move ahead, but would require time-consuming steps by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D.-N.Y.), who complained Tuesday that Tuberville’s gambit was tantamount to “hostage taking.” “The women of our military,” Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor, “are more than capable of making their own decisions when it comes to their health. They do not need the senior senator from Alabama making decisions on their behalf. And they certainly do not need any senator throwing a wrench in the function, the vital functioning of our military when they work every day to keep us safe.” (Lamothe, 3/28)
As New Military Policy On Abortion & Reproductive Health Takes Effect, GOP Vows To Fight It
A new Department of Defense policy allows service members to take up to three weeks off for abortion or IVF and reimburses them for travel expenses. This comes in the wake of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. But some Republicans in Congress are trying to block the policy. Texas Public Radio's Carson Frame reports for the American Homefront Project. (3/28)
In other news about women in the military —
The Washington Post:
These Women Survived Combat. Then They Had To Fight For Health Care.
More than 300 women participated in the cultural support team program between 2009, when it was activated, and 2021, when the Afghanistan war ended. Many sustained life-changing injuries as a result of their work, only to find that they have had to prove to the federal government their need for specialized health care because the Pentagon never classified them as “combat” veterans. (Seck, 3/27)