House Votes To End Pentagon Military Abortion Travel Policy

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to end a Department of Defense policy that funds interstate travel for military members to obtain an abortion if they are stationed in a state with restrictions or bans on the procedure.

On Thursday, the House voted 221-213 to attach the measure to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which is going to cause problems when it reaches the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The ban on taxpayer money being used to fund abortion travel is just one of multiple amendments to the $886 billion NDAA made by Republican lawmakers — which include a 5.2% pay increase for the military, the establishment of an inspector general to oversee Ukraine aid and numerous other measures.

The Pentagon enacted the abortion travel policy soon after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the issue of abortion to the states in their Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling on June 24, 2022.

In the aftermath of that ruling, several Republican-led states have either restricted or outright banned abortion — including several states that are home to military bases.

On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), where the Republican senator discussed his opposition to the policy. However, the meeting did not prompt any changes in the Pentagon’s policy — despite the pressure being put on the agency by Tuberville.

Since the policy was enacted, Tuberville has been making the job of the Pentagon difficult — imposing a blanket hold on military promotions and nominations. Though he isn’t able to unilaterally block appointments, Tuberville has been forcing the Senate to take the time to hold individual hearings because he had not supported any calls for unanimous consent votes — which the Senate typically uses to approve nominations as a group.

In a tweet about the NDAA amendment, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) thanked Tuberville for working so hard on the issue.

“Due to the boldness and courage of @SenTuberville, House Republicans have unified to pass @RepRonnyJackson’s NDAA amendment to protect life! Joe Biden and @SecDef Austin violated the longstanding norm that the federal government would not use taxpayer dollars in order to facilitate elective abortions. Rep. Jackson’s amendment will return us to our normal status!” the tweet read.