Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-23-09

Pregnant Soldiers Face Threat of Court-Martial

n American Army General issued a policy last month that would allow female soldiers and their sexual partners to be court-martialed in the event of a pregnancy. Major General Anthony Cucolo, a commander in Iraq, 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.

Since the announcement, General Cucolo has faced considerable criticism from veterans, women's rights groups, and lawmakers. The Christian Science Monitor reported that on Tuesday the Army received a letter from Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), who wrote, "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."

In response to his critics, General Cucolo told a group of reporters on a conference call that he doubts the court-martial threat would ever be put to use, saying, "I do not ever see myself putting a soldier in jail for this,"reported the Christian Science Monitor.

The Associated Press reports that since the policy went into effect on November 4th, four women and three men have been found to be in violation of it. The pregnant soldiers were sent home, as is normal Army policy, and all parties involved received letters of reprimand.

Military health centers are allowed to stock contraception, but are not required to do so. Last week, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced legislation that would force military health centers to keep emergency contraception in stock, stated the Minnesota Post. American servicewomen also have no access to abortion services because of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions.

Media Resources: BBC 12/20/09; Chrisitan Science Monitor 12/22/09; AP 12/22/09; Minnesota Post 12/19/09


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/29/2014 Extensive Female Genital Mutilation Study To Be Conducted in the US - The Obama administration plans to conduct a large study on female genital mutilation (FGM) to try to assess how many girls and women in the US are at risk, and how many have already experienced, FGM. According to experts, FGM tends to take place during summer break when parents take their daughter outside of the country for the practice. Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old woman who grew up in Gambia, experienced FGM there, and then child marriage in the US, started a petition that gained more than 220,000 supporters. . . .
 
7/29/2014 Supporters March for Marissa Alexander in Jacksonville - Hundreds of supporters from all over the United States marched to the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, FL yesterday to demand that all charges against Marissa Alexander be dropped. . . .
 
7/28/2014 Study Proves Texas Laws Have Significantly Reduced Access to Abortion - The Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) released a study in the medical journal Contraception finding that access to abortion has been significantly reduced since the state enacted it omnibus anti-abortion law HB2. The study, released last week, details the striking impact that HB2 has had on abortion access in Texas. . . .