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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-04-10

Military Drops Iraq Soldier Pregnancy Policy

The United States military announced late last month that it was reversing its new policy that allowed female soldiers and their sexual partners in Iraq to be court-martialed in the event of a pregnancy. The revised policy went into effect January 1st and according to a spokesman for the United States military in Iraq "does not include a pregnancy provision," reported CNN.

The original policy prohibited soldiers in Iraq from "becoming nondeployable for reasons within the control of the soldier," which included "becoming pregnant or impregnating a soldier...resulting in the redeployment of the pregnant soldier."

Major General Anthony Cucolo, the US commander in Iraq who instituted the rule, told the BBC that the policy was intended to protect the safety of his troops. "I've got a mission to do, I'm given a finite number of soldiers with which to do it and I need every one of them. So I'm going to take every measure I can to keep them all strong, fit and with me for the twelve months we are in the combat zone," he said.

General Cucolo faced considerable criticism from veterans, women's rights groups, and lawmakers after the policy was announced. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) wrote a letter to the Army that stated, "Although Major General Cucolo stated today that a pregnant soldier would not necessarily be punished by court-martial under this policy, we believe the threat of criminal sanctions in the case of pregnancy goes far beyond what is needed to maintain good order and discipline. This policy could encourage female soldiers to delay seeking critical medical care with potentially serious consequences for mother and child." Christian Science Monitor.

Media Resources: CNN 12/25/09; Christian Science Monitor 12/22/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/23/09; BBC 12/20/09


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