After almost ten months of blocking military promotions in protest of abortion access, Senator Tommy Tuberville has finally backed down.
Tuberville’s blockade drew harsh criticism from both sides of the political aisle as over 400 military officers were prevented from receiving their promotions. Global threats, from Russia to the war in Israel and Palestine, continued to intensify, highlighting the urgency of resolving internal political disputes to ensure the readiness and effectiveness of the armed forces.
Tuberville, who has never served in the US military, chose to wield his political influence in a manner that affected the lives and careers of military officers. Military families felt the direct impacts, with paychecks paused, spouses losing jobs, and children being unable to enroll in school while promotions were stuck in limbo. Many senior officers that were expecting promotions simply considered retiring, rather than wait for the Senate to properly do its job.
Tuberville’s decision to block the military promotions was rooted in his opposition to a US Department of Defense policy that allowed for service members and their families to receive additional support if they must travel out of state to receive abortion care. This could include up to three weeks of administrative leave and covering travel expenses in certain circumstances.
The Pentagon established this policy following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, stating that service members “do not control where they are stationed, and due to the nature of military service, are frequently required to travel or move to meet operational requirements.” The policy ensures that all service members have access to reproductive healthcare, regardless of where they are stationed.