The Left wants our government and institutions to operate as if its values were the norm and must be enforced—or else.
That idea hit a snag in Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., who has been making a prolonged stand against the extreme abortion policies adopted by the military under President Joe Biden.
Tuberville has been blocking the promotions of about 300 military personnel and flag officers over the Pentagon’s new abortion policy, and that has caused a meltdown on the Left.
For those who don’t know about that policy, my colleague Robert Bluey did an excellent job of explaining it and Tuberville’s objection:
Tuberville is objecting to the Defense Department’s policy of providing three weeks of taxpayer-funded paid leave and reimbursement of travel expenses for military personnel and dependents who are seeking abortions. An estimate from Rand Corp. predicts the number of abortions in the military eligible for taxpayer-covered expenses would skyrocket from 20 to more than 4,000 each year.
The military isn’t only outright funding abortions, it’s essentially catering to those seeking an abortion in a way it rarely does for anything else in the armed services. The military is hewing to the pro-abortion path of the Democratic Party, where the “safe, legal and rare” mantra has been replaced by “on demand, for any reason and at taxpayer expense.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who has been highly supportive of Tuberville in his efforts, made a good point on X, formerly known as Twitter. He explained how much of an outlier the abortion policy is in the military, where even the most essential personnel requests are typically mired in inconvenience and red tape.
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— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) September 8, 2023
“When I was a soldier, I missed the birth of a child, thanks to bureaucratic inflexibility,” wrote X user Lafayette Lee in response. “To see that same bureaucracy go to the mat for abortion is just something else … .”
The Left—including Senate Democrats and Biden administration officials—doesn’t want to acknowledge that this is what they are truly going to bat for, so they’ve prioritized arguments about military readiness and pay for soldiers.
For instance, they contend that blocking promotions is hurting military readiness, causing uncertainty for personnel, and affecting officers’ pay. That also prevents troops from feeding their families and getting their children enrolled in school as they deal with the uncertainty of where they will live, the arguments go.
“Some families are stuck paying out of pocket for those moves while they await orders,” wrote Bana Miller of the Secure Families Initiative. “That can be a huge financial burden.”
Three armed services secretaries wrote in The Washington Post that Tuberville’s stand has been hurting military personnel.
“We know officers who have incurred significant unforeseen expenses and are facing genuine financial stress because they have had to relocate their families or unexpectedly maintain two residences,” the secretaries wrote for The Post. “Military spouses who have worked to build careers of their own are unable to look for jobs because they don’t know when or if they will move. Children haven’t known where they will go to school … .”
“All because of the actions of a single senator,” they contended.
The financial argument seems shallow. We are talking about generals and other high-ranking officers, not your average enlisted man or junior officer.
The 300 officers who aren’t getting a pay bump are hardly suffering through general financial hardship. Many are making between $238,000-$272,000 in compensation.
Again, Democrats and Biden administration officials want to keep the focus on issues other than the Department of Defense’s abortion extremism.
For instance, Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., lambasted Tuberville and Republicans in an editorial at Fox News on Friday.
Kelly wrote that “Tuberville is single-handedly blocking the promotion of all our most senior military officers to the detriment of our military readiness, our national security, and the well-being of military families.”
It took a long while for Kelly to get to the nub of the matter, but he did finally explain the heart of his position halfway through the article.
“After the Supreme Court reversed the right of Americans to choose an abortion, the Pentagon created a policy that reimburses service members if they have to travel to access reproductive health care services, including abortion, but also in some cases when IVF services are not available where they’re stationed,” he wrote.
And there you have it. That’s what this debate is really all about.
Democrats and the Pentagon want to ensure that the military and federal government remain a vehicle for left-wing social policy. They are fine sacrificing readiness, pay, internal promotions, and all that in order to keep the policy in place.
Kelly wrote that Tuberville’s blocking of promotions “has a meaningful impact on the readiness of our force.”
“Tuberville either doesn’t understand that or just doesn’t care, but it doesn’t make a difference, because the consequences are the same,” the Arizona lawmaker wrote.
Kelly should look in the mirror.
The insinuation here is that our society should recognize abortion as a value-neutral right, and in accordance with the way the Left views rights, that means it must be upheld at public expense.
If the military really does have a long-term recruiting crisis, maybe it should pull out the stops for their personnel having children instead of eliminating them. That seems kind of important since the volunteer military currently relies disproportionately on multi-generational military families.
If military readiness was really the primary issue here, then why is the Department of Defense doing things like insisting on “gender-neutral” language in awards ceremonies and recommending tracts about “anti-racism” by Ibram X. Kendi to officers?
Turning the military into the modern American college campus is hardly the recipe for ensuing U.S. military dominance in the 21st century.
The bottom line is that the Left wants its own social and cultural policies to be the de facto norm in every institution, including the military, and it will subordinate every other issue to ensure that’s the case.
Tuberville drew a line in the sand, and he has every right to do so if we still believe in elected, civilian oversight of the armed forces.
If we want there to be any kind of roadblock in front of the ideological transformation of our institutions, we’ll need more elected officials to take a stand like Tuberville, not fewer.
LifeNews Note: Jarrett Stepman is a columnist for The Daily Signal, where this column originally appeared. He is also the author of the book “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.”
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