Ron DeSantis under fire for ‘abortion tourism’ remark

Florida governor wades into Senate military promotions fight

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 18 September 2023 06:44 BST
Ron DeSantis suggests fathers should pay child support to decrease abortion rates

Democrats fumed at Ron DeSantis on Twitter after the Florida governor chose to wade in to the ongoing fight in the Senate over Senator Tommy Tuberville’s holdup of military promotions over an abortion-related policy.

The upper chamber of Congress has lost some of its bipartisan amity in recent days over a hold placed by the Alabama senator on officer promotions until the Department of Defense ceases a policy that allows service members to have their travel reimbursed if they choose to abort a pregnancy. The far right has taken aim at this policy in the wake of the end of federal abortion protections undone by the Supreme Court last year.

Mr Tuberville’s actions have been condemned by Democrats and even some in his own party, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as top leaders of America’s military branches.

“I think holding these non-policymaking career military [officials] who can’t be involved in politics at all is a mistake, and we continue to work on that and I hope at some point we can get it clear,” Mr McConnell told reporters this past week.

But he has found an ally in Ron DeSantis, the culture war-obsessed governor of Florida who is seeking to unseat Donald Trump as frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination by championing every right-wing cause he can.

“I support what he’s doing,” Mr DeSantis said at a campaign event in Iowa over the weekend. “They are breaking, violating the law by funding abortion tourism.”

His comments earned scattered attacks from Democrats on social media, like Meidas Touch writer Ron Filipowski.

“Abortion tourism.I really thought, after Trump, that a more repulsive human could not possibly surface in American politics for generations. I was wrong,” wrote Filipowski.

Some, like the left-aligned VoteVets PAC, took issue with the fact that technically the DoD will not fund abortion services themselves, instead reimbursing travel costs for service members and dependants. It’s a minor distinction, and one that most Republicans have said amounts to the same outcome.

Former vice president Mike Pence, another long-shot candidate for the 2024 Republican nod, was asked about the issue this past week.

“On day one, I’ll direct the Department of Defense to to stop using taxpayer dollars to undermine pro-life laws in states around the country,” Mr Pence said on Friday. “Sen Tommy Tuberville is right, and the Pentagon is wrong.”

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