Tennessee House Minority Leader Karen Camper is slamming a letter sent by Rep. John Ragan to Tennessee’s U.S. Senators late last week. The letter encouraged the senators to support a ban on abortion care for military members and encourage Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s blocking of approving the appointment of senior military members.
“I am shocked by the level of vitriol and carelessness for the men and women in uniform expressed in this letter,” said Camper. “As a woman, as a veteran, and as a member of this General Assembly for many years, I have seen harmful and dangerous political posturing, but this is beyond the pale. For Rep. Ragan to write a letter encouraging the federal government to not allow placement of career military officials, who have no role in politics, is reprehensible. Even Tuberville’s own leader, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has said it is wrong and a mistake!”
Tuberville has held up the appointment process for nearly nine months because he disagrees with the current abortion policy at the Pentagon. Defense officials and office holders on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly told Tuberville this is a harmful move and have asked him to lift the stay on appointments.
The draft of Ragan’s letter, dated September 11 of this year, encourages Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty to support Tuberville in his obstinance and also asks the senators to remove ‘wokeness’ from the military.
“I served my country in uniform for over two decades, just like Rep. Ragan. I know that we had widely different experiences in our careers, just as we have had different experiences in life,” said Camper. “But for a state lawmaker to try to insert his personal beliefs into the policies implemented by the Pentagon is outrageous. His opinion on women’s health care and the health and rights of Americans in uniform does not set policy. As a former officer, Rep. Ragan needs to respect the chain of command and honor the decisions made by our military leadership. He doesn’t want women to travel to other states for abortion care? Well, if conservative state legislatures around the country had not declared war on women’s rights and tried to make women out to be second class citizens, we would not be in this predicament. It is insulting to say that soldiers can give their lives for their country but cannot make their own healthcare decisions. Again, this is totally outrageous.”
It has been reported that Tuberville, a first-term senator from Alabama with no military experience, received a letter from seven former Secretaries of Defense saying that he was putting the nation’s security and military readiness at risk. The Marine Corps Commandant position (a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) is vacant for the first time since the Civil War. Nearly 300 other positions have not be filled or promoted since Tuberville began his protest.
“Our military is at an all-time low level for recruitment. Our young people are not choosing the military as a career. It has nothing to do with ‘wokeness.’ This is a blanket term that my colleagues on the right use way too frequently to trivialize issues with which they disagree. We just finished a 20-year war and this letter was written on the anniversary of the most horrific attack on America ever. Office holders who hold the beliefs set forth in this letter are the reasons Americans feel that they are not supported or respected when they enlist. The people who take the oath to serve deserve respect, not derision.”