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Pregnant Soldiers Could Face Court-Martial; Is it Unfair to Women?

(CBS)
WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) Having a baby while serving for the U.S. Army in northern Iraq is a military crime, according to a general's new policy.

Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo has added pregnancy to the list of reasons a soldier under his command could be court-martialed.

The new policy, outlined last month by Cucolo and released Friday by the Army, would apply to both female soldiers who become pregnant on the battlefield and the male soldiers who impregnate them.

Civilians reporting to Cucolo also could face criminal prosecution under the new guidelines.

Army spokesman George Wright said the service typically sends home from the battlefield soldiers who become pregnant. But it is not an Army-wide policy to punish them under the military's legal code, he said.

However, division commanders like Cucolo have the authority to impose these type of restrictions to personnel operating under their command, Wright said.

Cucolo oversees forces in northern Iraq, an area that includes the cities of Kirkuk, Tikrit and Mosul. His Nov. 4 order was first reported by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

Cucolo's order outlines some 20 barred activities. Most of them are aimed at keeping order and preventing criminal activity, such as selling a weapon or taking drugs.

But other restrictions seemed aimed at preventing soldiers from leaving their unit short-handed, including becoming pregnant or undergoing elective surgery that would prevent their deployment.

Under Cucolo's order, troops also are prohibited from "sexual contact of any kind" with Iraqi nationals. And, they cannot spend the night with a member of the opposite sex, unless married or expressly permitted to do so.

WHAT DO YOU THINK: Does the new rule make sense or is it unfair to women?

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