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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

Getting Pregnant Can Land Some Women Jail Time

By December 21, 2009

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Women who get pregnant, and the men who impregnate them, can be sent to jail in one Division serving in Iraq. This is true even if the couple is married. I first heard about Division Commander Major General Anthony Cucolo's decree last week. I had hoped it was just rumor, so I didn't report on it. But it's now showing up in the New York Times.

The usual policy has always been to send women who are pregnant and in combat situations home. A policy to send pregnant women home would make more sense. I get that they want to discourage women from getting pregnant. When I served in the Army, pregnancy was an easy out of your contract, as if you got pregnant, you could choose to leave the Army. I would imagine that in a combat situation, it's even more tempting.

This is simply not right. What about a married couple who has a birth control failure? It happens. Even if you're doing everything you can - what if you miss a pill because you're on a mission that takes too long? Or it just happens? This just seems mean spirited.

What are your thoughts? Have you been in the military? Have you been pregnant and in the military? Or do you just have an opinion? I'll listen to them all!

December 21, 2009 at 9:17 pm
(1) Fun Mama - Deanna says:

I’m flabbergasted. I can’t believe that it’s even possible to send US citizens to jail because they got pregnant. What country do we live in again? And aren’t we supposedly fighting to protect our freedoms?

December 22, 2009 at 4:10 pm
(2) Audrey says:

I’m a mom in the military, currently expecting #3. My husband is also in the military, although we do not serve with the U.S.
I find this policy completely appalling an wonder how long it would hold off in an appeal in a court of law… There has to be a middle ground somewhere where they can discourage bringing a sometimes unwanted child into the world just to get out of overseas duty, and the normal lives of the members of that division, including having a family when the time is right for them.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first, it was my second night in a camp in Afghanistan. We’d just spent over a year trying to get pregnant but our jobs kept us apart so much and we also miscarried. It was too early to test before getting on the plane, and I was only going for a 2-month period so I took the chance. My unit was very understanding once they found out (2 weeks before we were coming home). I told my closest coworker just in case, and hiding the morning sickness from the 37 men I was deployed with was quite easy, they just thought I’d caught whatever bug was going around the camp at the time! (women are much more perceptive in these cases..!)
Anyways, all that to say that pregnant women can still play a full role in the military, and should not be punished for doing so. There are plenty of places where they can be employed that are safe for them and their babies, and those jobs need doing one way or the other so why not accommodate them for those few years in their lives when it’s time to have that family so many want?? They’ve certainly earned the right to live their dreams too!
On the other hand, I hope that getting pregnant to avoid certain duties is not becoming a trend, because raising a child is a lot more than going through a pregnancy, and that decision should always be made for the right reasons…

December 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm
(3) peter says:

women in the military are not outside the fence-if you become pregnant someone else has to do your job–you are puting everyone at risk–I dont think you should go to jail but if it was done deliberate what do you think should be done?–we have a similar situation in surgical training–you have to agree to not become pregant–if you do there is nothing we can do about it but you create major problems for surgical residents in training–If I recall General Mathew Ridgeway faught against women in the military–I happen to agree with him–same with women police and firemen. In my experience I have seen men police put in severe danger while women police where laughing on the sides–once guns where involved–policewomen stepped aside as th male cops dealth with gunholder–I would hate to have my son in a combat situation modifying his behavior to protect a female soldier–alla prt Lance.

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