WASHINGTON – The Pentagon’s reproductive care policy that prompted a Senate Republican to place a months-long hold on military promotions was used just 12 times in fiscal year 2023 and cost the government fewer than $45,000, defense officials announced Tuesday.

“The total cost for the department for travel and transportation in these 12 instances was $44,791.20,” Pentagon deputy spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters.

The policy, put in place following the Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, requires the Defense Department to reimburse female service members who travel to receive in-vitro fertilization or abortions if they are stationed in a state that bans such procedures. The policy also applies to other conception assistance treatment such as “ovarian stimulations and egg retrieval.”

Singh did not provide a breakdown of which medical services were sought in the 12 instances, citing privacy concerns.

“These policies ensure that service members and their families are afforded the time and flexibility to make private healthcare decisions, as well as supporting access to non-covered reproductive healthcare, regardless of where they are stationed,” she added.

Currently, there are more than 230,000 women serving on active duty in the US military.

The policy became a political football last year between the Biden administration and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC).

Tuberville, arguing that no taxpayer dollars should be put toward the provision of abortions, placed a hold in February 2023 on any military promotions while insisting the policy be scrapped.

Typically, Pentagon nominations are approved as a group by the Senate under unanimous consent unless a member of the SASC objects. Otherwise, each nominee must be considered separately in an extremely drawn-out, time-consuming process.

As the backlog piled up this past July, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby described the travel benefit as “the darn right thing to do.”

“Whether it’s about female service members or female family members, being able to count on the kinds of healthcare – and reproductive care, specifically – that they need to serve, that is a foundational sacred obligation of military leaders across the river,” he said from the White House podium.

Ultimately, almost all of the service branches were left without a confirmed top leader thanks to Tuberville’s hold. In December, the senator dropped his objections but insisted that he had done the right thing to “stand up for the taxpayers of this country” against what he called a “bad policy.”

At one point, more than 450 people were blocked from taking new positions, with Tuberville condemned by members of both parties who said the hold was detrimental to military readiness.

2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.