Friday, January 29, 2016

The Blatant Double Standards of the U.S Military

      Men, who have been fighting for this country for hundreds of years, never got to enjoy their families due to not having access to extended paternity leave, which can be understandable as one makes a choice to become a soldier and forfeit his civilian life. But the same is not applied to women who become soldiers when it comes to them becoming pregnant.

The entire military apparatus just declared that soldiers who get pregnant, are going to be guaranteed extended paid maternity leave. The Hill reports:
"Women in the Army and Air Force will soon be getting twice as much paid maternity  leave, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday.
'This puts the DOD in the top tier of institutions nationwide,” he said of the new policy that gives women in all branches of the military 12 weeks for paid maternity leave.'

Carter also pledged to increase time off for paternity leave, expand healthcare benefits for service members trying to start a family, increase hours of military child care facilities and allow some troops to stay at the base of their choice. 
'Fairness is important, but always, always mission effectiveness of our force comes first,”'he said. 'We’re not Google. We’re not Wal-Mart. We’re fighters. That does not mean we should be not be challenging ourselves just like the private sector.' 
Carter’s announcement is the latest move toward gender parity at the Pentagon, following his decision late last year to open all combat positions to women. 
For the Navy and Marines, the 12-week standard is actually a reduction in paid maternity leave. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who also oversees the Marines, had announced over the summer that the two branches would allow 18 weeks for maternity leave. 
Carter settled on 12 weeks, he said, as he felt it balances both competitive leave and readiness. Sailors and Marines who are already pregnant will be able to take the 18 weeks promised to them, Carter added. 
'Twelve weeks is extremely generous,' he said. 'It puts us in the very top tier of American employers. We leaned very far forward.'
For paternity leave, Carter wants to raise it from 10 to 14 days. Changes to paternity leave will require approval from Congress.

We supposedly leave in a patriarchy but female soldiers are not held to the same standards when it comes to pregnancy as male soldiers are. Female soldiers cannot be court-martialed nor have their illegal pregnancies during military service tar their record and not get in the way of future promotions. From CNN:
"The commander who instituted a policy cracking down on pregnancy among soldiers defended it Tuesday as necessary to maintain troop strength, but said no soldier would ever be court-martialed for violating the directive.
While violation of any of the rules in 'General Order Number 1' could lead to court-martial, Cucolo said he never intended such a drastic punishment for pregnancy.'I believe that I can handle violations of this aspect with lesser degrees of punishment,' Cucolo told reporters. "I have not ever considered court-martial for this. I do not ever see myself putting a soldier in jail for this. 
To date, he said, there have been eight cases of women getting pregnant while deployed under his command. Four were given letters of reprimand that were put in their local files, which means they would not end up in their permanent files and they would not be a factor in being considered for promotions. The four other women found out they were pregnant soon after they deployed; because they were not impregnated while deployed, no disciplinary action was taken."

So female soldiers really do not suffer any real consequences for undisciplined behavior and will actually get paid maternity leave, and to make matters worse, so-called "unplanned" pregnancies are on the rise in the military. From The Huffington Post:
"The unplanned pregnancy rate among active-duty women in the military is high and on the rise, according to a new study that analyzed Department of Defense survey data. 
'It's significantly higher than in the United States population, and it seems higher than the rate in 2005,'  study author Daniel Grossman, an assistant clinical professor in obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences a the University of California San Francisco and vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health, told The Huffington Post. 
'It's counterintuitive. This population has really good access to medical care,' he continued. 'It's concerning that, perhaps, contraceptive access is still a problem.'
Grossman and his colleagues analyzed a sample of more than 7,000 women, aged 18 to 44, who had answered questions about pregnancy as part of a 2008 Department of Defense survey of health behaviors among each service branch.
The findings, which they compared to the previous survey, conducted in 2005, were published in the February issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, released Wednesday. 
Overall, 10.5 percent of women in the latest survey said they'd had an unplanned pregnancy in the past year. That is higher than the 2005 rate of 9.7 percent and -- when adjusted for age -- also substantially higher than national estimates, the authors claim. 
The age-adjusted unintended pregnancy rate in 2008 was 78 per 1,000 women, according to the new study. That number is 50 percent higher than the unplanned pregnancy rate in the general population, which recent estimates put at 52 per 1,000 women. Younger, less educated, nonwhite and married or co-habitating women had the highest rates of unintended pregnancy. 
The new study is also among the first to look at unplanned pregnancies in deployed women. The unplanned pregnancy rate among women who went overseas was on par with those who had not. That means, the authors write, that efforts to improve pregnancy prevention need to happen among all active-duty servicewomen, at home bases and during deployment. Unplanned pregnancy also prevented deployment for many women. Overall, 11 percent of female service personnel scheduled to ship out were not able to in the previous year because of a pregnancy."

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