Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, gave an impassioned speech on the Senate floor defending the months-long campaign of his colleague Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-AL, to end taxpayer-funded abortion in the military.

“Let this message to [Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin and [Navy] Secretary [Carlos] Del Toro be clear,” Lee began.

“If you want to make laws, run for Congress. You can’t legislate from the E-Ring of the Pentagon.”

“Until then, stand down,” he continued. “And leave the lawmaking to the lawmakers.”

“Americans overwhelmingly agree that the federal government should not use U.S. taxpayer funds for abortions,” Lee pointed out. “To that end, Congress has passed laws providing just that.”

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The senator then explained how the Biden administration policy Tuberville is fighting is in direct conflict with federal legislation Congress has enacted:

One specific law deals specifically with the U.S. Department of Defense. You may not use Department of Defense funding or facilities for abortions.

It’s Congress that makes the laws, not the Department of Defense.

Sen. Tuberville is right to oppose this egregious policy, and he is well within his rights as a member of the United States Senate to take this position

.@SenTuberville is right to oppose this egregious policy.

You can’t legislate from the E-Ring of the Pentagon.

— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) September 7, 2023

As Fred Lucas of The Daily Signal reported, “Tuberville is blocking around 300 military promotions until the Pentagon drops its policy of funding travel for women to get abortions. Democrats, the media, and more recently Pentagon officials have criticized his actions.”

Lucas referred specifically to Del Toro, who has served as Biden’s Secretary of the Navy since 2021 and, a few days ago, accused Tuberville of “aiding and abetting communists and other autocratic regimes around the world.”

Lee condemned the secretary’s attack, which he called “ad hominem.”

“Personal attacks against members of Congress based on policy views certainly violate the high standard of decorum typically held by the leadership of the United States armed forces,” Lee said. “This body should reject the ad hominem attack against Sen. Tuberville by Sec. Del Toro.”

Del Toro also claimed that Tuberville’s holds are “having a real negative impact and will continue to have a real negative impact on our combat readiness.” Tuberville has repeatedly contested that claim.

“We should commend his courage and applaud his dedication to upholding his oath of office, his commitment to the Constitution, and standing for those who cannot stand, let alone speak, for themselves,” Lee said of the senator from Alabama.

In an interview with The Daily Signal’s Samatha Aschieris this week, Tuberville said he had no intention of ending his holds until the Pentagon reverses its policy. “I’m not going to change my mind,” he said. “They have not tried to meet me in the middle. They have not tried to compromise.”

In February, Politico described the new measure instituted by Austin’s Department of Defense (DoD). The department

will cover costs for troops who must travel to obtain abortions and will permit up to 21 days of administrative absence for troops to obtain an abortion or other reproductive care or accompany a spouse or dependent. DoD will also allow service members to wait up to 20 weeks of pregnancy before notifying commanders.

Austin is a self-professed Catholic.

LifeNews Note: Joshua Mercer writes for CatholicVote, where this column originally appeared.

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