Tommy Tuberville sparks fresh outrage with ‘abortions after birth’ comment

Republican senator’s efforts to hold up military promotions has caused relations to sour between him and others in his party

John Bowden
Washington DC
Monday 20 November 2023 05:29 EST
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McConnell: Tommy Tuberville’s military blockade created ‘unprecedented’ situation

Tommy Tuberville, the football coach-turned senator from Alabama, has repeated a baseless lie about Democratic-aligned policies on abortion.

On Friday, the Republican senator was appearing on a talk show hosted by Kimberly Guilfoyle – girlfriend of former president Donald Trump’s eldest son Don Jr – when he repeated the fact-free assertion that Democrats support policies which would allow abortions “after” a baby is born.

This policy has never been supported by any elected Democratic official and would not actually constitute an abortion — it would simply be murder.

The senator used the conspiracy as fuel for his increasingly unpopular campaign to hold up military promotions until the Department of Defence stops reimbursing service members for travel they may require in order to access abortion services.

Mr Tuberville, a Maga-aligned Republican, has won praise from the far right for his stance while earning condemnations from centrists in his party as well as from his Democratic rivals.

One of those Democrats, Senator Tina Smith, responded to a clip of Mr Tuberville’s remarks and called them “harmful”. Defence officials have said that Mr Tuberville’s holdup of military promotions have left key positions at US command centres unfulfilled at a time of global crisis.

“Did Kimberly attempt to acquaint Senator Tuberville with the criminal code? Because this is utter nonsense,” wrote the Minnesota Democrat.

“But harmful nonsense. Senator Tuberville blocking these promotions is hurting our military.”

Mr Tuberville’s ongoing campaign is quickly causing rifts within the GOP Senate caucus.

It’s also raising the question of whether, in the future, senators will take similar actions to unilaterally enforce their will on policy matters rather than addressing them through the legislative or judicial processes.

Some of those rifts exploded into view earlier this month, when Republican senators confronted Mr Tuberville over his efforts on the Senate floor in view of the cameras.

The Alabama senator has remained adamant that he will not release his hold on promotions, telling reporters: “I cannot simply sit idly by while the Biden administration injects politics in our military from the White House and spends taxpayers' dollars on abortion.”

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