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Pregnant Soldiers Face Court Martial

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?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
Not sure if everyone has heard, but this doesn't apply anymore. Not even a week after this was released, they changed it.
rossy rossy 7 years
Perhaps this speaks towards why gays should be exempt from harassment & imprisonment... Don't think pregnancy is on their minds when fighting the enemy. But that's another topic entirely. - In a way, this is NOT surprising to me - sad, but not a surprise. Remember the '90's & "Tailhook"? If not, here's the link for what was one of the most unsettling scandals in military history... -
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
To Janine22 who asked, "Does anyone even consider the stressful and harmful effects all of this will have on the mother and her unborn baby?" (referring to the possible court martial) We're talking about a soldier on active duty in Northern Iraq.... I tend to think a court martial is going to be the LEAST of your concerns when your life is on the line every minute of every day.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
"Under his rule, both female soldiers and their male accomplices can face court martial for a pregnancy." I'm glad they're looking at both sides. It sounds completely fair to me. Those women knew what they signed up for! I think people complain way too much about things in the army.. they completely forget it's a job they signed up for! Also, Plan B. Think about it. Who wouldn't get it if, especially if they were raped? There are many things you can do to avoid getting pregnant, and if these people don't even want to put that much effort into it, then they deserve losing their job over it. That's really all it is, it's not the end of their life. I have very very little compassion for this lady.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 7 years
This is BS, what would happen if a women is home on leave and has sex with her husband/bf and the condom breaks/BC doesn't work(which does happen) then what. She didn't get pregnant intentionally, I think it's wrong to court Marshall just for getting pregnant they should just let the women take leave until after they deliver and after a maternity leave then go back and finish out their tour. Wouldn't that make more sense then humiliating them for no valid reason (which from what I understand is what Court Marshall does to soldiers)
heatherhas heatherhas 7 years
". . .the military personel would have sex in the portapotties (which is disgusting)." The army does it while they are on patrol! Don't even get me started on that rant.
imLissy imLissy 7 years
I don't understand the anti-abortion stance. If they're that against women being sent home for becoming pregnant, you'd think they'd be a little more open to abortion as an option. I think people really need to learn to control their behavior and there's little excuse for accidentally getting pregnant with all the bc options out there, but peoples is peoples. They signed up for this, they know the rules, they break the rules, there should be consequences.
nancita nancita 7 years
Wow, way to offer options, US military. Yet another reason that I will not be serving in the military any time soon. They certainly don't make it welcoming to women.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 7 years
A woman who does not know or refuses to share who the father is will obviously be court martialed solely, Janine. And I don't see what the problem is there. She knew it was against the rules to have sex to begin with, the difference being it was a pregnancy that got her caught instead of in-action. As far as married servicemembers go, it's very rare to have the spouses at the same station in a warzone, so she would also be violating the military's rules against adultry... that's another court-martial offense. I don't agree with how the military treats abortions, but I don't see how court martialing a woman who made the decision to become pregnant in a warzone is such a travesty. Do the crime, do the time
kia kia 7 years
What about court martial in the face of rape and resultant pregnancy? Being a woman in combat over there seems rough and I highly respect anyone that signs up for it. Sadly there is also a culture of sexual aggression our female soldiers face that the military has also not been able to get a handle on.
Janine22 Janine22 7 years
This is still sexism because the women pay a higher price for pregnancy than men. What about in cases where the woman does not know or want to admit who the father is? Then she alone faces the impact of both of their actions. If she is unsure who the father is, then that cannot be determined until the child is born anyway. I am sure that there are some cases in which the woman does it intentionally in order to get out of deployment, but why should all women be punished just because of some? Does anyone even consider the stressful and harmful effects all of this will have on the mother and her unborn baby? Is pregnancy acceptable if the woman is married? If so, this is simply punishing women for having children out of wedlock. And that is most certainly sexist. Why would a military hospital not be allowed to perform abortions? Is it because they take some sort of religious stance that disagrees with abortion? How or when did the military have the right to take a moral and religious stance on women's rights?
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
I agree with spacekatgal. Being pregnant and fighting a war don't go together, specially if people are using it to get out of war. I think that this is just a way to control those women that get pregnant to get out of war.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
SKG - my friend told me BC is available - it's free for those who want it.
mcjx3 mcjx3 7 years
What about all those women that face rape while serving? It happens all the time and it is certainly not their fault if they get pregnant with an illegitimate child
mondaymoos mondaymoos 7 years
I think every possible step should be taken to avoid pregnancy. Accidents happen, but it's all too common for female servicemembers to use pregnancy as a means to weasel out of deployments. Sad, but true. And since both servicemembers would be courtmartialed, I don't see this as particularly sexist.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
My friend was a nurse with the Navy stationed in Baghdad. She said there is a strict policy against fornication on the bases and that to get around it, the military personel would have sex in the portapotties (which is disgusting). She said there were women who would get pregnant over there just so that they could be sent home. She also said that she had to treat women who would get severely sick with infections after trying to perform the abortions on their own because they feared getting in trouble for getting pregnant since it meant they had broke the law by fornicating. It's just a mess all around. I do understand why pregnancy should be avoided. They are in a military combat situation and a pregnant woman requires increased care and is more susceptible to harm. So it does impact their ability to perform their duties. There just is no easy solution to this problem, especially with people being forced to do back to back tours of duty and spending more and more time overseas.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
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. Scary and sad... and dangerous.
chillchic chillchic 7 years
Honestly, this whole situation is a mess. You can't be can't get an abortion. That's too much control over people's bodies. The military needs to revise a lot of their policies becuase people are not going to join if they feel they won't be respected.
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