Congressional Republicans are angry at the Pentagon’s plan to offer troops money and time to travel across state lines for legal abortions, calling the idea politically motivated by the Biden administration with taxpayer money. Uses describe a time of record high inflation and economic struggle. across the country.

Over the past several days, Republicans have taken direct aim at the policy, which was unveiled by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a memo last Thursday.

In the memo, Mr. Austin ordered the Defense Department to develop policies offering “administrative absences” and reimbursement for travel and transportation for pregnant service members seeking reproductive health care services, including abortions. So you have to go out of state.

The document seeks to answer lingering questions about how the U.S. military will handle abortion after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Rowe v. Wade decision in June, which established a national right to abortion. what was

The Pentagon memo suggests that under President Biden and Mr. Austin, the Defense Department will take a proactive approach to ensure that soldiers have equal access to abortion, even if they are stationed in states that practice the practice. Limits.

Critics say the move is politically motivated, especially given that the memo was released three weeks before the high-stakes midterm elections on Nov. 8.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Department of Defense has allowed President Biden to misuse the US military for political purposes. [The memo] Released nearly two weeks before the election by the DoD, is a desperate campaign tactic that undermines the core mission of our military,” Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, said in a statement on the House Armed Services Committee. I said.

“I demand answers from the Department of Defense as to how this memo came about. Taxpayer dollars should not be wasted on campaign politics to deter China and other adversaries,” Mr. Rogers said. But avoid wasting any part of your budget.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado, a Republican, called the memo “ridiculous” and said it changes federal policies not to use taxpayer money to facilitate abortions.

In a Twitter post, Sen. Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, said the plan shows how Mr. Biden wants to use the military to advance liberal priorities.

Mr Scott tweeted. “Americans are struggling to make ends meet, and this is how they spend their time and our taxpayer dollars?! This is nonsense.”

Under the new directive, Mr. Austin said military officials must create new uniform policies to allow “reasonable administrative leave” for women who must travel for an abortion — meaning the absence is will not be counted as personal leave.

The Pentagon chief said the Department of Defense should also cover some of the travel expenses associated with the trip.

“Our service members and their families are often required to travel or relocate to meet our personnel, operational and training needs. Such actions do not limit their access to reproductive health care. should,” Mr. Austin wrote in the memo.

“The practical effects of recent changes are that large numbers of service members and their families have to travel longer distances, take more time off work, and pay more out-of-pocket to receive reproductive health care,” he wrote. may be compelled to do.” “In my judgment, such effects qualify as exceptional, unusual, difficult or emergency circumstances for service members and their dependents and the recruitment, retention and maintenance of a highly qualified force. will interfere with our ability to keep

To address these issues, Mr. Austin directed the Pentagon to: “Establish travel and transportation allowances for service members and their dependents, as appropriate and in accordance with applicable federal law and operational requirements. , and modify any applicable travel regulations as necessary, to facilitate officials. Travel to access non-covered reproductive health care available in the local area of ​​the service member’s permanent duty station. do not have.

Defense officials denied that politics played a role in the timing of the new policy.

“There is no timeline. We cannot act fast enough when it comes to taking care of our people,” Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters last week.

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