Elise Cooper for BLACKFIVE
Major General Anthony Cucuio’s implementation of a policy last month making pregnancy a punishable offense stirred debate on whether the army’s policy was discriminatory against women. Retired Major Merideth A. Bucher who wrote the articulate article, “The Impact of Pregnancy on US Army Readiness,” adamantly feels the need for a policy to deal with the problems created by pregnant soldiers.
There are sacrifices American soldiers must make, some of which cannot even be imagined. Since the current military service is voluntary and the deployment date is given about a year in advance, the individual who joins, male or female, agrees to become ready for deployment. Bucher explained that “military service is a sacrifice. If they can’t make the sacrifice maybe they are in the wrong line of work. They signed on the bottom line.”
She passionately felt that a pregnant soldier has a major impact on their unit. The example cited was of a supply sergeant who becomes pregnant. Bucher commented that “it would be extremely difficult to replace her since her job is crucial to the unit.”
She emphatically felt that the role of a soldier is to perform their duty by being an intricate part of a unit. Bucher pointed out that by losing one person everyone else has to work that much harder to get the mission accomplished. Just think about all those cases when athletes were irresponsible by taking chances and getting injured. By being unavailable to play, the whole team was hurt. Soldiers being part of a unit are no different.
Does Bucher think the male soldiers get a free pass? Her answer was “yes, but guess what, life is not fair. Women will have to live with that difference forever. As a female military person you assume different burdens than your male counterpart.” By getting pregnant, a soldier makes all women vulnerable to the argument that they did it to get out of the deployment. She commented that “it weakens every female soldiers standing as a member of that unit.”
Should those women who take the steps not to become pregnant be singled out, given the fact that no birth control is 100% full proof? Take for example a male soldier who goes on a motorcycle, bike, or skate board and becomes injured so he cannot be a part of the unit. Why is that any different than a woman who becomes pregnant while on birth control? In both cases the intent was not to be irresponsible and was accidental. After hearing this scenario Butcher stated “the argument is valid and makes sense.”
When thinking about this issue she wants people to understand that a uniform person has a completely different perspective than a civilian. She commented that “soldiers need to have very high levels of discipline.”