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Thread: Pregnancy - a court martial offense?

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    Default Pregnancy - a court martial offense?

    Interesting story. I can see both sides of this issue so am a bit conflicted.

    A top US commander is threatening soldiers who fall pregnant on active service with jail.

    Under the new policy, troops expecting a baby face court martial and a possible prison term – and so do the men who made them pregnant.

    And the rule applies to married couples at war together, who are expected to make sure their love lives do not interfere with duty.

    Usual US Army policy is to send pregnant soldiers home from combat zones within 14 days.

    But Major General Anthony Cucolo, who runs US operations in northern Iraq, issued the new orders because he said he was losing too many women with critical skills.

    He needed the threat of court martial and jail time as an extra deterrent, he said.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    I can see both sides of this issue so am a bit conflicted.
    It looks like a disaster in the making. I recall many soldiers at Ft. Benning suddenly becoming pregnant prior to orders for Korea. There wasn't a clear answer then.

    Do they actually intend on jailing pregnant service members ? Reduced to E1 and jailed til child birth

    And they cannot spend the night with a member of the opposite sex, unless married or with express permission.
    I reckon there'll be a caveat soon specifying the use of "issue" condoms
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    It's about fricken time.

    I'm reminded of an earlier thread...
    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    But I also know that pregnancies in our MSB and FSB's had an uncanny correlation with deployments, to include NTC rotations prior to OIF or combat deployments once OIF kicked off - often times the pregnant Soldiers were not married and were hard pressed to narrow down the list of possible baby-daddies to what a reasonable person would regard as a short list. The size of the pregnant PT formation should be considered an EEFI because it is the best indicator of a unit's deployment timeline.

    Our current system seems to be an honor system that lacks any honor code by which it can be self-policing. There are legitimate unplanned pregnancies, to be sure. But the number of unmarried Soldiers who fill the ranks of the pregnant PT formation, coincidentally at the same opportune time, many of whom cannot say with certainty who impregnated them, suggests that the honor system is being taken advantage of.
    I would also add that we're sending a conflicting message here. I had to occasionally visit the larger FOBs on my second deployment. We would take the opportunity to buy random stuff in the PX that the supply system was not responsive to. It always amazed me to see an entire aisle of cologne, perfume, lingerie, and condoms. Outside of the PX there was a beauty salon. Seriously, I don't mean just a fancy barber shop. It was a full-blown beauty salon. The list of amenities that appealed primarily to preening one's self in preparation for a romp in the sack or just going out on date nights was incredible to behold. There was no tanning booth, if I recall correctly, but there was plenty of room around the pool to sunbathe (albeit, that ample space filled up quickly with bikini-clad Soldiers fresh from the beauty salon).
    Last edited by Schmedlap; 12-21-2009 at 08:37 PM.

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    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    I'm interested in seeing how this pans out. I imagine certain ideological positions on the left and right will be upset about this rule.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntelTrooper View Post
    I'm interested in seeing how this pans out. I imagine certain ideological positions on the left and right will be upset about this rule.
    Heh. I'm trying to think of something that those people don't get upset about.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntelTrooper View Post
    I'm interested in seeing how this pans out. I imagine certain ideological positions on the left and right will be upset about this rule.
    Unfotunately, I think you are right. I don' think this will last too long.

    Adam L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    Heh. I'm trying to think of something that those people don't get upset about.
    So true!
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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    "With a plan this complex, nothing can go wrong." -- Schmedlap

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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    "Usual US Army policy is to send pregnant soldiers home from combat zones within 14 days."
    Maybe someone with more medical education or maybe ovaries can explain how this may be a good idea.

    That date would be at about 2 months pregnancy. Almost all women should still be able to work pretty well at that time and for many more weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Maybe someone with more medical education or maybe ovaries can explain how this may be a good idea.

    That date would be at about 2 months pregnancy. Almost all women should still be able to work pretty well at that time and for many more weeks.
    My main concern would be the horrible environmental quality on FOBs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Afghan contractors used to burn anything and everything in the trash pit at the PRT (including cleaning fluids, refrigerators and other equipment and appliances). All my friends stationed there had respiratory problems for months after coming home. I can't imagine what that kind of stuff would be doing to a developing fetus.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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    "With a plan this complex, nothing can go wrong." -- Schmedlap

    "We are unlikely to usefully replicate the insights those unencumbered by a military staff college education might actually have." -- William F. Owen

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    I've got to second that. Even the person with the most do-nothing job in Iraq or Afghanistan can be struck by a mortar at any time on their base or struck by an IED or RPG while traveling from point A to B. That includes the child in the womb. That kid didn't sign up for combat. I'm not a big proponent of rewarding bad behavior (sending someone home if they purposely got pregnant to avoid duty), but you can't punish the innocent and helpless for someone else's irresponsibility.

    I would add one thing to the thread. I know a woman who was a very good officer. She was married to my FSO. She found out that she was pregnant shortly after deployment. It was neither planned nor expected and she was the type who really wanted to deploy with her Soldiers. I'm not sure how this policy would have impacted her (or her husband) seeing as how she was unknowingly pregnant before deployment and found out about it in theater.

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    Schmedlap,

    That's really the rub. How is it possible to discrimate the honest folks from the dirt-bags, especially considering there is probably going to be a lot more nookie pre-deployment than is typical?

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    Entropy,

    In terms of administering a centralized system like we administer most other things, I think it would be very difficult to come up with objective standards. But small unit leaders know who is trying to get pregnant. I know we don't like doing this, because subjective calls are more difficult to defend, but we might need to rely on small unit leaders to police the bad behavior.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Default The Pill

    I suggest that everybody can either be on birth control (the pill, IUD, etc.), or they can face the heat when they get pregnant. I know it might be a little hard on those women who suffer from adverse reactions to the pill, but it seams like a reasonable proposal.

    Adam L

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Maybe someone with more medical education or maybe ovaries can explain how this may be a good idea.

    That date would be at about 2 months pregnancy. Almost all women should still be able to work pretty well at that time and for many more weeks.
    Aside from the hazards stated above, almost all miscarriages are 1st trimester. There's probably a certain reluctance to be held responsible.

    Requiring the use of effective contraception would seem a reasonable move to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Aside from the hazards stated above, almost all miscarriages are 1st trimester. There's probably a certain reluctance to be held responsible.

    Requiring the use of effective contraception would seem a reasonable move to me.
    This is a true catch/22......if you require contraception, you've now run aground of those with religious objections to contraceptions.

    I mean the real effect of this reg is a strong incentive to use contraceptives, but to actually expressly require them is a whole 'nother ballgame.

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    Someone posted on another site - what happens if she gets preggers on her mid-tour leave?

    Another unconfirmed source said the punishment was downgraded to a letter of reprimand instead of a court martial after pressure resulting from the article.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    I suggest that everybody can either be on birth control (the pill, IUD, etc.), or they can face the heat when they get pregnant. I know it might be a little hard on those women who suffer from adverse reactions to the pill, but it seams like a reasonable proposal.
    That might work if you had one that worked at 99.999% efficiency. Since we don't, it is a bust. A simpler solution would be to use the previous policy - out of the zone in 14 days - and extend their enlistment time for the time off.

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    Default Clarifying my intent

    I appreciate the discussion about one aspect of a general order I have applied here in the combat zone of Iraq. The true intent of my directive cannot be easily understood from one or two brief articles, so I would like to clarify my rationale for the directive.
    In this 22,000 Soldier Task Force, I need every Soldier I've got, especially since we are facing a drawdown of forces during our mission. Anyone who leaves this fight earlier than the expected 12-month deployment creates a burden on their teammates. Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status -- or contributes to doing that to another -- is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos, "I will always place the mission first," or three of our seven core values: loyalty, duty and selfless service. And I believe there should be professional consequences for making that personal choice.
    My female Soldiers are absolutely invaluable, many of them holding high-impact jobs that are often few in numbers, and we need them all for the duration of this deployment. With their male counterparts, they fly helicopters, run my satellite communications, repair just about everything, re-fuel and re-arm aircraft in remote locations, are brilliant and creative intelligence analysts, critical members of medical teams, in all areas of logistics and personnel support across this Georgia-sized piece of Iraq north of Baghdad, and much more. Since I am responsible and accountable for the fighting ability of this outfit, I am going to do everything I can to keep my combat power -- and in the Army, combat power is the individual Soldier.
    To this end, I made an existing policy stricter. I wanted to encourage my Soldiers to think before they acted, and understand their behavior and actions have consequences -- all of their behavior. I consider the male Soldier as responsible for taking a Soldier out of the fight just as responsible as the female Soldier who must redeploy.
    To ensure a consistent and measured approach in applying this policy, I am the only individual who passes judgment on these cases. I decide every case based on the unique facts of each Soldier's situation. Of the very few cases handled thus far, it has been a male Soldier who received the most severe punishment; he committed adultery as well. Though there have not been any cases of sexual assault, any pregnancy that is the product of a sexual assault would most certainly not be considered here; our total focus would be on the health and well-being of the victim and justice for the perpetrator.
    I do not expect those who have never served in the military to completely understand what I have tried to explain above. Recently I was asked, "Don’t you think you are treading on an intensely personal topic?" As intensely personal as this topic might be, leaving those who depend on you shorthanded in a combat zone gets to be personal for those left, too. This addition to a standing general order is just a small part of our overall effort to foster thoughtful and responsible behavior among our Soldiers.

    Proudly serving you,
    Tony Cucolo
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    Commander, Task Force Marne
    Tikrit, Iraq

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Sorry, but what's the problem?

    Order: Do not get pregnant. Getting pregnant, without authorisation, is a breech of discipline, especially while deployed. I'd venture it's actually criminally stupid.

    Get pregnant and you are out of the army. Get another soldier pregnant and he's gone as well. No court-martial. Go on leave till the paper work is done. Dishonourable discharge, same as if convicted of drunk driving.
    Last edited by William F. Owen; 12-22-2009 at 02:50 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNDNPAO View Post
    I do not expect those who have never served in the military to completely understand what I have tried to explain above. Recently I was asked, "Don’t you think you are treading on an intensely personal topic?" As intensely personal as this topic might be, leaving those who depend on you shorthanded in a combat zone gets to be personal for those left, too. This addition to a standing general order is just a small part of our overall effort to foster thoughtful and responsible behavior among our Soldiers.
    Well....I was never in the military and I understand what you explained. Frankly, I'm with Marc on this. If they choose to get pregnant, send them home but tack the time away on to their ADSC or enlistment. The AF does this with officers if they take advantage of certain advanced education programs, so why not do it for pregnancy?

    And Wilf, while your proposition is great in theory, I just can't see it working in the U.S.
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