Senators, including Sullivan, warn Defense Sec. Austin that he broke law by approving abortion travel policy


Twenty-seven Senate Republicans, including Sen. Dan Sullivan but not Sen. Lisa Murkowski, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Monday, demanding a reversal of an abortion travel policy that the senators say is in violation of the constitution, since it was made without congressional approval.

“You have broken your promise to the American people not to politicize the military, and your actions have harmed and threaten to further harm institutional norms within our democracy,” the senators wrote. “All legislative power is vested in Congress, and the Executive branch is responsible for implementing and enforcing the law,” they explain. “While the Department may issue regulations, it can only do so under the laws authorized and enacted by Congress. But, Congress never authorized the Department to expend funds to facilitate abortions and, until the Policy was issued, the military never facilitated abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother would be endangered if the unborn child were carried to term,” the letter said.

“Now taxpayers—many of whom have deeply-held religious and moral objections to abortions—are on the hook to facilitate the very abortions they fundamentally oppose,” the senators said. “Indeed, a Marist poll in January 2023 found that 60% of Americans strongly oppose the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for an abortion, consistent with polls taken throughout recent years.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and send the abortion question back to the states, Sec. Austin ordered the Defense Department to pay for travel so military members could receive abortions in another state, if they were stationed in a state that prohibited or limited abortions.

“Rather than respect the Supreme Court’s decision, you decided to engage the Department, and our men and women in uniform, in a policy debate properly reserved for the legislature,” the senators said. 

The Republicans also note that the reason Sen. Tommy Tuberville placed holds on military appointees in protest over that policy is due to Austin’s overreach.

“Our men and women in uniform deserve Senate-confirmed leadership but the current situation began with your original sin of promulgating the policy,” the letter said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., could bring the nominees to the floor for a vote at any time, but he has not done so.

“Much has been made in the press about one senator’s decision to try and stop your egregious wrongs, without acknowledging the Senate majority leader’s refusal to bring general and flag officer nominations to the floor until forced to by Republicans,” the senators said. “Seeking to circumvent the Senate prerogative of the informal ‘hold’ practice without addressing the underlying causes—the novel policy and subsequent refusal of the majority to bring these nominees to the floor—will not ultimately reconcile this matter.”

Austin’s actions could create a toxic precedent with lasting negative effects on future military nominations, the senators said.

Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C. and 26 other Republicans signed the letter, including Katie Britt of Alabama, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Tom Cotton and John Boozman of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Pete Ricketts and Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Thune and Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, and Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso of Wyoming.


  1. Why is there ‘no’ consequences for these transgressions?
    Surely Austin’s legal advisors knew they were breaking the law.
    BUT(!!!), they must’ve felt they’re above the law and unaccountable.
    They’re common motto … “Rules for Thee but, not Me!”

  2. Dan we want action. We are all sick of talk. Biden should have been canned after he got 13 of this nations kids killed unnecessarily. Now his shills are breaking the law with no consequences. Start kicking some ass now.

    • The same with Dunleavy. They both (Sullivan & Dunleavy) are done after this term is up AND they will have put Alaska in a spot where we will all feel like we can’t breathe!

  3. Good decision Sen. Sullivan, I hope for both legal and moral principles. Now are you working to flush the biden DIE – diversity inclusion equity attack on or military?

  4. My question is, why does Senator Sullivan keeps flip-flopping on different issues? One day he takes one stand and the next day he flips-flops. It makes it hard to think about voting for him in the future. I believe this stand is about the election next year. Politics and not about babies being killed. That’s what is being decided on. When parents come to the CPC and see and hear a baby’s heartbeat it makes a big impact. Our government should NOT be making this decision.

  5. Austin does not give a hoot that he broke the law. No one can nor have the courage to do anything about it. Nice try Dan….empty words and promises seems to be your MO

  6. Pretty late to the plate Senator. Senator Tuberville could have used your voice and that of the other Senators long ago. Seems less than a week ago Senator Sullivan was chastising Senator Tuberville for his tactics. One might wonder the motivation for the sudden change of heart.

    • 1-Hyde Amendment.
      2-DOD doesn’t have the authority to authorize this. It’s an appropriations issue for Congress.
      3-Domestic issues of this nature are also the discretion of Congress.

  7. This article, and the allegation, are nonsense. No laws were broken.

    On a related note, these continuing efforts to restrict abortion access are great Democratic campaign ads. Keep banging that drum if you want more Democrats in office.

  8. And the Senator’s way of punishing him is to continue funding him. All bark for click bait that allows journalists to write a story for us plebes but no bite where they defund certain parts of the government in order to stop these transgressions.
    Instead they will pass another “continuing resolution” fully funding everything he complains about. Because, truly, Senator Sullivan could give a poop less about this.

  9. How else can America bolster our adversaries military defense posture. Without children its not worth standing up to fight.
    Just hand over the keys and vaccinate like the rulers said. “It will be over before it hits you”

  10. The military is breaking the Hyde amendment “ no federal funding of abortions “.
    Also unless specifically addressed in the DOD budget, the discretionary expenditure of funds that violates a standing congressional amendment really pisses off the Law Makers.
    Just look at the Alabama Senator.
    Austin wearing the Black Man armor will not be touched. Just one more radicle liberal only looking out for his own nest.

  11. Nice calling Sec. Austin out, Senator Sullivan, for doing another illegal act such as using public funds to support abortion activities. Yet, you trash your conservative colleague, Senator Tuberville, publicly, for putting a hold on automatic Senate approval for military promotions over this same abortion issue. Tuberville is actually doing something whereas Senator Sullivan is effectively only hand wringing. Action is always preferable over rhetoric, Senator Sullivan. Senator Tuberville is has the courage of his convictions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.