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Army Says Get Pregnant, Get Court Martialed

pregnant-bellyA new Army policy has just made pregnancy an offense worthy of a court martial for women serving in Iraq.

Reported in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, the ruling comes from Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III and is “applicable to all United States military personnel, and to all civilians, serving with, employed by, or accompanying” the military in northern Iraq, with few exceptions.”

So what’s the good news? The Major General had the foresight to include not only the women who become pregnant but some responsible for “impregnating a soldier, while assigned to the Task Force Marne (Area of Operations), resulting in the redeployment of the pregnant soldier.” Hey, if it’s good for the goose, it sure as heck better be good for the gander. But the woman is immediately in trouble once the pregnancy comes to light – then she’s called on to name the servicemen responsible for putting her in that position.

If she doesn’t say anything, he goes unpunished. On the other hand, she names him, and the father of her child is likely headed for jail.

Yes,  the ruling calls for court martial and possible jailtime for the offense. Cucolo defended the action to the BBC recently, stating he was losing a lot of skilled people because of pregnancy.

Married servicemembers should put their love lives on hold or use protection, he says. To an extent, I agree. You signed a contract to serve in the military. Getting pregnant in the middle of a war zone is not my idea of a story to tell the grandkids.

Then again, pregnancy is a natural occurrence, one protected by the U.S. Family Medical Leave Act in relation to one’s job. According to the Department of Labor, “FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees.” ALL public agencies, they say? The Army even has a maternity leave.

And what about accidents? Married personnel who do have the chance to be together in wartime are that much more aware of how precious their time together is, and expecting them NOT to have sex is ludicrous – perhaps even cruel. But even the most careful person can make a baby – just ask my friend who conceived two of her kids while on the birth control pill.

And what of the rule that non-married men and women cannot spend the night together unless “expressly permitted” to do so? Are we keeping good soldiers in the field or are we becoming the morality police?

Image: 3neus via flickr

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