Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry, soldier - you have a uterus

by Rich Miles

Army Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo, the head of American forces in Northern Iraq, has banned pregnancy under his command.

That's right - it's now against Army regulations to get pregnant.

Now, this is the very definition of mixed emotions for me - I really don't know which way to look on this one.

I have for years been an advocate for responsible penis and vagina use, and abhor the massive number of inadvertent pregnancies in all segments of our society, including the military. I personally have no biological children ('bio-kids', as I coined them.) That's just how good *I* am.

But according to a story printed in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, any member of the armed forces who becomes pregnant or impregnates another servicemember, including married couples both in the service, could face a court-martial and jail time.

Note that "or" clause - OR anyone who impregnates another service member. This includes married couples who are both in the service. If one is and the other isn't, I guess only the service member gets busted.

Now, how are we to think about this matter?

On the one hand, it's at least gender-neutral, since both the impregnee and the impregnor are liable for these penalties. Since it's nearly impossible to hide one's paternity these days, both parties will face sanction. That is, IF they are both members of the military. Frankly, not a very frequent occurrence.

But on the other hand, what de fuck BIZNESS is it of the military command structure as to whether a couple choose to conceive? Married or no?

And then on the inevitable third hand, do the armed forces in essence own yo' sorry ass for as long as you're in the service? And do they thus have the right to tell you that you can't get knocked up, or do any knocking up?

Col. David S. Thompson, the inspector general for all soldiers in Iraq, says that this is a legal order. I'm not quite sure of that. I have too much experience of the military SAYING that something is legal etc., and just waiting for it to be proven so or not at a future date - kicking the can down the road, as they say.

So perhaps it remains to be seen. But my initial response to this knowledge is that it's just SOOOOO very illegal, even for the military, to pass down an order like this.

I'd enjoy reading your comments on this. I really need guidance.


kentondem1 said...

One, since Catholic couples are not permitted to use birth control, the order has the effect of forcing celibacy upon a married couple.

Two, what about the female soldier who is raped, is she then going to be jailed for becoming pregnant?

Old Scout said...

To address the issues you both raise.

Rich - It is a legal order. It may be unethical and likely to be unenforceable as to conduct, but it is enforceable as to outcome.

Kent - RC's use the rythm method all the time. According to MG Cucolo, this is at most an extended period of abstenance. As for a rape, that is an entirely different matter. If she can and does identify her attacker, no harm, no foul for her and she will not be prosecuted. Likely as not a termination will be available, regardless of the victim's religious holdings. She won't be required to avail herself, but I can't imagine carrying to term under that spectre held over the event.

As an exhausted rooster from the Army roster, I consider his comcern valid. People are getting preggers to avoid duty. To you two this is a badge of courage. To servicement this is not sa badge of courage but is a lack of fidelity. This is a volunteer Army and I was first in our conscripted Army - conscripted myself. When called we serve; when ordered we perform; when trained we excell.

To all appearances, you all are civilians. "Jody's" (civilians) don't have a clue about service standards and customs. Also the UCMJ is fraught with questionable application of rights. My bretheren at SJA concur here; it's a legal order and quite questionable wrt enforcement and ethics.

kentondem1 said...

Army General Backs Off/ No Court Marshall

My trust in the military is somewhat restored.