According to, CNN, a new order from the general in charge of northern Iraq makes getting pregnant or impregnating a fellow soldier an offense punishable by court-martial.
It is nice to see that General Cucolo is not only including the females in this threat of Court-martial, but the male soldier who impregnates her as well. The need for combat ready troops in Iraq is not being questioned, yet it seems a little drastic to ruin a person’s career, and possibly their lives because they were unable to control their sex lives. According to Terry Weaver of Stars and Stripes, “The policy, which went into effect Nov. 4, makes it possible to face punishment, including a court-martial and jail time, for becoming pregnant or impregnating a servicemember, according to the wording of the policy and confirmations from Army officials.” This new law only affects those serving under General Cucolo III’s command, but it not only extends to service personnel, but to the civilian personnel under his command as well.
“The policy also applies to married couples who are at war together,” Army spokesman Maj. Lee Peters told Stars and Stripes in an e-mail message. “Both the husband and wife could face punishment under the policy.” We all know that accidents happen, as many of our children were not planned pregnancies. So it seems a little drastic to penalize our troops for having the same difficulty that many of us have had to face state-side. It also seems very unfair to penalize only the combat troops for this behavior, if it is good for the ones in the combat zones then it should be carried over to those that are not in combat zones. Why not make it impossible for all active duty personal to procreate, after all the Army did not tell them they could engage in having sex, let alone get pregnant, did they?
The whole thing smacks of discrimination against those in the military that are still able to have children. So why not issue each female soldier a pack of Birth control pills, or “The Morning After Pill” along with the rest of her Army gear. It seems somewhat drastic to threaten to court-martial someone who becomes pregnant while in the war zone. They defend this policy by saying, “Armywide policy requires that a pregnant soldier in Iraq be removed from the war theater within 14 days.” While it does make sense to remove the soldier from the war zone, it seems some-what drastic to threaten court-martial. Eugene Fidell who teaches military law at Yale law school was quoted as saying, “Here you really have issues that go to the core of personal autonomy: reproductive rights.” It resembles the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy; if these female soldiers become pregnant they are likely to attempt to hide it to avoid being penalized for accidently becoming pregnant. If they hide their pregnancy then they are not going to get the prenatal care that is necessary for a healthy baby. The Army will also be risking the life of both the pregnant female and her offspring if she hides it and then gets shot, or killed in the line of duty, then it is the loss of two lives instead of just one.
On the other hand they could also risk the lives of these soldiers as they may seek some sort of illegal abortion to avoid being prosecuted. Or they will have a legal abortion, thus causing them to have to make a choice between their infant, and their career. Looking at it from the male soldier point of view, what makes the general think that the male is going to do the right thing, and step forward as the father of the child. Or another possibility is the pregnant female may refuse to report the father in order to salvage his career. It seems there are more issues here then just becoming pregnant, and what about the female soldier who goes to war already pregnant, are they going to penalize her as well?
Seems like there a few more things to consider then just the health of a war that should have been over a while ago, after all when are they going to allow Iraq to govern and defend itself.? Of course Cucolo did say that, “Pregnancy that arises from sexual assault would not be punished.” This statement brings to mind the question of how many female soldiers are now going to report they were sexually assaulted by an unknown individuals. Seems that this policy has a lot of holes in it, and will probably be probably be protested against by many that are state side, why can’t they just send them to another duty station? the other aspect it seems they have not considered is that the offending personal would then be removed from the service anyway after they are court-martial ed.