Soldiers must prepare to confront death on the battlefields, but if they're on tour in Northern Iraq, they must also be ready to ward off new life. A US Army general in the region has added pregnancy to the list of offenses that can trigger a court martial.
General Anthony Cucolo said the current policy of sending pregnant troops home results in the loss of too many skilled soldiers. Thus, threatening to punish pregnancy is a matter of war strategy. Under his rule, both female soldiers and their male accomplices can face court martial for a pregnancy.
This is the first time the US army has made pregnancy a punishable offense, but it isn't the first time the military has weighed in on reproductive rights. Current law forbids military hospitals from performing abortions except to save the woman's life, and any person covered under the military health insurance must also pay for abortion out of pocket. And there have been reports of female soldiers giving themselves abortions while on tour overseas thanks to the complete lack of access, and the stigma attached with being sent home for pregnancy. Now for any soldier covered under Gen. Cucolo's rule, both pregnancy and abortion violate military law. Better hope that birth control doesn't fail.
Does it seem fair that soldiers must put their reproductive rights on hold?