WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation today released a letter from three of the organization’s vice presidents supporting Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s efforts overturn the Department of Defense’s illegal and immoral abortion policies.
The letter is signed by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. James J. Carafano, vice president of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy; John Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government; and Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy.
Full text of their letter is below:
May 10, 2023
The Honorable Tommy Tuberville
U.S. Senator for Alabama
455 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Tuberville,
The Heritage Foundation stands united in our support of your strong stance in opposition to new Department of Defense policies relating to abortion. The new DoD policies are illegal, immoral, and further erode American’s trust in the capability of the U.S. Armed Forces to fulfill its mission. As an elected representative of the citizens of Alabama, thousands of whom serve in the military or in a support function for the many defense installations in your state, you have an obligation to stand and fight for their interests, and you have. As a U.S. Senator, you have a duty to use the powers vested in your office to uphold the rule of law, and you have. And as a leader, you have a moral responsibility to defend the defenseless and vie for the rights of all those created in the image of God. And fight you have.
After the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, President Biden declared his intent to further his radical pro-abortion agenda through every means possible. In February, the Department of Defense heeded his directive, circumventing Congress and issuing new policies that use taxpayer funds to pay for abortion and to indemnify DoD staff who may violate state criminal protections of unborn life. The American people have indicated time and again that they do not approve of using taxpayer money to fund and promote abortions. If the Biden administration and Senate Democrats wish to challenge this consensus, the NDAA is the appropriate venue to make policy for the DoD.
Your critics have the audacity to claim that your opposition to these new, unlawful policies poses a threat to military readiness. America’s military readiness is of vital importance and one The Heritage Foundation takes seriously. Each year, we publish an Index of U.S. Military Strength to gauge the U.S. military’s ability to perform its missions. This year, for the first time, we assess the military as weak and at growing risk of not being able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests. While the reasons for this are many, your holds are not among them. But don’t take our word for it. On April 20, 2023, Chairman Jack Reed asked U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Commander John Aquilino what impact your holds have had on readiness in the region. Commander Aquilino responded, “Operationally… no impact, because Seventh Fleet commanders are not going anywhere until the proper replacement is in place.”
The significant decline in the propensity to serve among America’s youth is one of the major problems facing our military today. Increased political polarization of America and the perception of the military as a “woke” institution is a significant factor in the ongoing recruiting crisis facing the DoD.
The greatest threat to military readiness is the actions of a commander-in-chief who imposes unlawful policies and undermines the sanctity of civil-military relations that are the bedrock of well-functioning armed forces by putting a political agenda ahead of the purpose and mission of the armed forces and the support and well-being of those that serve. You have made a difficult and courageous decision to take a stand.
We commend you for your principled stand and will continue to fight alongside you in opposition to these policies for the sake of our military, the rule of law, and the unborn.
James J. Carafano
Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy
John G. Malcolm
Institute for Constitutional Government