WH Spox Claims It Is a 'Sacred Obligation' for the Military to Let Service Members Travel for Abortion


National Security Council spokesman John Kirby is forcefully defending the Pentagon’s policy of granting leave for service members and their families to travel to receive an abortion.

In February, it was announced the military would pay the expenses of service women who travel to receive an abortion or fertility treatments.

During a press briefing on Monday, a reporter asked why the policy specifically regarding travel for abortion is “critical” for military readiness.

“I’m glad you asked that question,” Kirby responded as he noted the military is made up of service members who voluntarily join its ranks.

He added, “When you sign up and make that contract, you have every right to expect that the organization, in this case, the military, is going to take care of you and they’re going to take care of your family.”

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Kirby went on:

“Our policies, whether they’re diversity, inclusion, and equity or whether they’re about transgender individuals who qualify physically and mentally, deserve to be able to [serve] with dignity. Or whether it’s about female service members – one in five – or female family members being able to count on the kinds of health care and reproductive care specifically that they need to serve. That is a foundational, sacred obligation of military leaders across the river.”

Kirby added, “I’ve seen it myself. And it matters because it says we’re invested in you, because you are being willing to invest in us. You’re investing your life, your family’s livelihood with us. We owe you that back in return.”

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He went on to suggest there is already a retention issue in the military as he noted service members do not get to choose where they are sent.

“You go where you’re told. That’s the way orders work. You go where you’re assigned. You don’t get to choose. And so what happens if you get assigned to a state like Alabama, which has a pretty restrictive abortion law in place, and you’re concerned about your reproductive care, what do you do? Do you say no and get out?” he asked.

Finally, Kirby insisted, “It can have an extremely, extremely significant impact on our recruiting and retention. Not to mention it’s just the right darn thing to do for people that raise their hand and agree to serve in the military.”

The question comes as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) is holding up military promotions over the travel policy. He argues it violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for abortion.

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Tuberville’s hold has left the Marine Corps without a permanent commandment replacement for the first time since the Civil War.

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