US Military: Pregnancy Policy to be Rescinded

By Marcia Pappas NOW/NYS

NOW spoke out and made a difference for women in the military. Gen Cucolo in Northern Iraq, announced a new policy last month making a soldier’s pregnancy an offense punishable by court martial.

NOW spoke out against the policy and four women senators, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, Jeanne Shaheen and Kirsten Gillibrand, called on the Army Secretary McHugh to rescind it.

Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release: Contact:
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553
December 22, 2009

Women Senators Ask Army to Rescind Pregnancy Policy  

 Washington, DC – Today, United States Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called on Army Secretary John McHugh to rescind a policy that criminalizes pregnancy for many service members currently in Iraq. The text of the Senators’ letter follows:

December 22, 2009
The Honorable John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101

Dear Secretary McHugh:

It has come to our attention that Major General Anthony Cucolo III—the Commander of Multi-National Division-North, Iraq—has implemented a stricter policy that criminalizes pregnancy for members of the United States Armed Forces under his command and for others “serving with, employed by, or accompanying” the military. While we fully understand and appreciate the demands facing both commanders and service members in Iraq, we believe this policy is deeply misguided and must be immediately rescinded.

Under the policy, it is possible to face punishment, including imprisonment, for “becoming pregnant, or impregnating a Soldier, while assigned to the Task Force Marne” Area of Operations. The policy even extends to married couples jointly serving in the warzone. 

Although Major General Cucolo stated today that a pregnant soldier would not necessarily be punished by court-martialunder 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. 

This policy also undermines efforts to enhance benefits and services so that dual military couples can continue to serve. We can think of no greater deterrent to women contemplating a military career than the image of a pregnant woman being severely punished simply for conceiving a child. This defies comprehension. 

As such, we urge you to immediately rescind this policy. Thank you for your prompt consideration of this most important request, and for your continued commitment to our men and women in uniform. 


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator                                                                       

Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator                                         

Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senator                                                                           

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

The Jan 1, 2010 policy by Ordierno does not include the pregnancy offence.

Commander to Rescind a Provision on Pregnancy


Published: December 25, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top United States commander in Iraq intends to rescind a policy that had placed pregnant soldiers at risk of discipline.

The commander, Gen. Ray Odierno, has drafted a broad new policy for American forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1 and will not include a pregnancy provision that one of his subordinate commanders enacted last month, the United States military command in Iraq said Thursday.

The news of General Odierno’s order comes about a week after the pregnancy policy issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo set off widespread criticism. General Cucolo had issued a policy that would permit the punishment of soldiers who become pregnant and their sexual partners.

The pregnancy provision was one of a variety of offenses for which General Cucolo said punishments could range from minor discipline to a court-martial.

In a conference call with reporters earlier this week, he said he would never actually seek to jail someone over a pregnancy. General Cucolo said the policy had been intended to emphasize the problems created when pregnant soldiers go home and leave behind a weaker unit.

The new general order issued by General Odierno, which follows a full review of existing orders, consolidates and replaces several general orders from United States commanders across Iraq.

A version of this article appeared in print on December 26, 2009, on page A8 of the New York edition.


3 Responses

  1. […] more: US Military: Pregnancy Policy to be Rescinded « Free Us Now Weblog « The Youngs: Pregnancy Foods To Eat When Pregnant & The Important Pregnancy […]

  2. This is just like feminists – wether you agree or disagree with a military policy it is not yours to decide over. We have military officers because they are trained in making war related decisions. This training has not been applied to senators mikulski, boxer and the like. If youre in a war Washington can’t tell the generals on the ground how to fight it.

    However everyone knows they dont respect the military anyway, as Senator Boxer has made painfully clear. This in now way suprises me through, Senators like Mikulski have a long history of disrespect.

    For real change check out Dr. Eric Wargotz, who will unseat Mikulski in 2010.

    – Mathew

    • I have to agree with you on Boxer in regard to her disrespect of the Military – I heard her humiliate the General when he called her Ma’am – which of course was too good for her. A senator of course she is ! They are a corrupt den of thieves deserving not real honor

      As far however as court marshalling soldiers because they get pregnant- well that just goes too far. People are human- they have sex – BC fails and couples get pregnant- to force a woman to have an abortion or have her and her partner face court marshall would be wrong!

      Suggesting – couples do not get pregnant is acceptable but threat of court marshall?

      Now the senators wrote a letter- the general recinded the order- blame the general that recinded it no? Or start a movement to elect republicans to replace the dems who wrote that is your right as well!

      BettyJean Kling M.S, M. Ed Founder: The Majority United http://WWW.FreeMeNow.wordpress BTR The Majority United Radio Mon. 10 pm & Wed. 9:30 pm Eastern Call-In Number: ( 347 ) 838-8011

      Founder: Free US Now- “A victim’s first scream is for help; a victim’s second scream is for justice.” – Coral Anika Theill

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