Are pregnant men allowed on frontline?
Monday 17 February, 2014
The Mail is scandalised today by the idea of women in the Army having sex - whether at home with their partners or on the front line with their comrades. If they are to continue with such behaviour, they should be required to take a pregnancy test before being deployed abroad.
It is clearly quite wrong that people's lives should be put at risk because they are having to be flown home when the truth comes out. Lives at risk? Because they are being flown out on planes used to transport injured servicemen? Is the paper seriously suggesting that the moment a woman goes to the CO and confesses 'baby on the way', aircraft are scrambled and she's up in the air before you can say Pampers? Is it not more likely that she will be moved out the next time a plane happens to be heading this way?
Well it must be a problem if 200 women (201 actually) have had their tours of duty cut short this way. These included an 'astonishing' 99 from Afghanistan and 102 from Iraq. Defence Correspondent Ian Drury continues:
"Incredibly, female soldiers are not forced to take a pregnancy test before deploying because top brass believe it would be an invasion of privacy."
Incredible indeed, our military commanders are less reactionary than the Daily Mail. Well that's good to know.
But let's look into this in more detail. When were these women removed from active service? Since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. So that's about 20 a year then. Or less than 1% of the women on active operations, as the MoD points out.
And how many men have been flown home over that period for reasons other than battle injuries? Family bereavements, perhaps - is it safe to send a man into active duty if he has an elderly parent at home? After all, his comrades might be left at risk if he has to be flown home to their deathbed.
Funnily enough, Mr Drury doesn't offer this information. Maybe he could put in an FoI request to find out.
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Oh dear, Obama did get into trouble for that selfie at the Mandela memorial. But is it right to call the Prime Minster of Denmark a flirty blonde?