Pentagon Asked To Turn Over “Evidence” Of Claims

( Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee have asked the Pentagon for more information after the Defense Department published a memo claiming that the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade will impact military readiness.

After the Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in late June, Gilbert Cisneros Jr., the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness submitted a memo claiming that the Court’s decision will have “significant implications” for US service members and will impact the overall “readiness of the Force.”

It is already illegal for the Department of Defense to pay for abortions except in cases of incest, rape, or if the mother’s life is at risk. Cisneros conceded in the memo that the Court’s decision won’t have any impact on the DoD’s existing leave policies.

And despite the memo acknowledging that the decision doesn’t change existing policies, Cisneros warns that the “implications” are “complicated” and must be “evaluated against various state laws, together with the views of the Department of Justice.”

Armed Services Committee Republicans smelled a rat.

Led by ranking member, Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the Republican senators sent a letter to Secretary Lloyd Austin asking that the Pentagon explain specifically why the Court’s decision would impact military readiness if the DoD’s existing abortion policies are not affected.

In the letter, the senators argue that there is no evidence cited in the memo to support Cisneros’ conclusion. They asked Secretary Austin to provide detail on what these “significant implications” are and what the Defense Department used to arrive at this unsubstantiated conclusion.

The senators also want to know what the “additional guidance” Cisneros mentions in the memo might be and which specific policies and procedures the Pentagon is currently reviewing. They also instruct Secretary Austin to consult with Congress before issuing any further guidance.

In addition to Senator Inhofe, the Republicans joining the letter are Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Rick Scott of Florida, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.