Getting Pregnant Is An Occupational Hazard for a Soldier

women in militaryIt doesn't surprise me that 12 British servicewomen have been sent home from Afghanistan for getting pregnant this year. If anything, 12 seems like a rather low number. The British Ministry of Defense apparently warns against sexual relations between troops, but there's no official rule against it.

Honestly, even if there was an official rule against troops hooking up, is it realistic to believe that soldiers would just abstain from sex during long, harrowing deployments? I can't think of another gig that lists celibacy as a job requirement, apart from being a priest or a nun (and we know how well that arrangement works out for the clergy!).

I understand that the military demands more from its members than most professions, but soldiers are, after all, only human.


Women in every walk of life get pregnant unexpectedly and end up quitting jobs or dropping out of grad school or otherwise rearranging their previous plans as a result. Of course the frontlines are not appropriate place for mothers-to-be, but I still don't like the underlying implication of reports like this one: We told you women shouldn't be fighting wars! See, now they're going out there and getting pregnant!

Yes, women and men are going to do the same job differently. But that's okay, because people and performances can be different and still be equal.

It would be interesting to find out how many servicemen were sent home over the past year for male-specific physical conditions. I have a feeling that somehow, gender limitations do end up balancing out.

Does it surprise you that women get sent home from war pregnant?


Image via Expert Infantry/Flickr

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