U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) joined renowned neurosurgeon and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson on his podcast on Monday to discuss his hold on military promotions to combat a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) policy that provides funding for abortions.
The policy in question offers female soldiers in states where abortion is illegal up to three weeks of administrative leave and transportation allowances to receive abortions in different states.
The Pentagon's decision to assist women in receiving abortions follows the U.S. Supreme Court's (SCOTUS) decision last summer to overturn Roe v. Wade and bring the abortion issue back to the states. This brought into effect laws in many red states that banned abortion, including Alabama's Human Life Protection Act, which state lawmakers initially passed in 2019.
Tuberville, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, warned U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that if he were to institute the policy without going through Congress, he would place a hold on nominees, which would slow President Joe Biden's efforts to fill DOD positions without a formal Senate vote.
"We're going to go from a couple dozen [abortions] a year, Dr. Carson, to about four or five thousand a year in the military," Tuberville said. "[T]his White House could care less. … I sent a letter to the Secretary of Defence, Secretary Austin, and said, 'Listen, you weren't elected to Congress. You don't make laws. We do. Let us do the lawmaking.'"
Tuberville explained that the hold on nominees does not keep nominees from being confirmed but rather keeps the Biden administration from getting large swatches of nominees confirmed at once, thereby slowing down the process.
Nevertheless, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) disavowed Tuberville's hold on nominees earlier this month. Other conservatives continue to give the effort their support.
"I'm out there on an island right now," Tuberville said. "Mike Lee's the only one that's really signed on as supporting. But I think everybody's pretty supportive."
On March 23, conservative leaders, Carson included, signed a letter backing Tuberville's hold on nominees.
Tuberville and Carson also discussed the military recruiting crisis, which Tuberville blamed on political ideology seeping into the armed forces and vaccine mandates.
"We're turning our military into a 'woke' institution," Tuberville said. "The military should be non-political."
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