• invalid-0

    I know the feeling all too well. When I was 21, in the Air Force, I found out I was pregnant via a home test. Wanting to be assured that the test was accurate, I went to the base hospital for another test. I was not aware that it was mandatory my chain of command be notified of a positive result. I was still weighing out my choices when they returned the positive result, along with a letter that had to be signed by my supervisor. Not only was it invading my privacy, but I felt like I was a child who had done wrong and had to have my father sign a form of notification so I could take it back to my teacher.

    Once I had decided to terminate the pregnancy, no one at the hospital would talk to me about my choices. Well, actually, that’s not true. We discussed continuing the pregnancy, and whether or not I would keep the child or give it up for adoption. The doctor even told me that she had friends who couldn’t conceive, and that if I were to choose adoption, to consider them and get back with her. When I told her I was terminating the pregnancy, she told me that abortion was not an issue she could discuss with me.

    And that was that.

    After the abortion, because the medical group is not required to notify the chain of command that you are no longer pregnant, it was an issue I had to address face-to-face with my superiors. The medical profile assigned to me for being pregnant, that restricted my physical training had to be revoked, and it was I who had to notify the physical training leader that I no longer needed it (this individual was not in my chain of command, by the way).

    All of the changes to personal and personnel files that were automatically made because of a positive pregnancy test had to be undone. I had to notify my first sergeant to tell him that no, I don’t need a family care plan, because, no, I don’t have a “family.” No, I’m not pregnant. No, I’m not expecting a child. Yes, I had a positive pregnancy test. No, I am no longer pregnant. I had to deal with calls from the Family Support Center trying to get me enrolled in parenting classes. It was a nightmare.

    Very thankfully, my direct supervisor and NCO in charge were amazing, compassionate and understanding. If it were not for them, the experience would have been traumatizing instead of merely embarrassing, frustrating, shameful and degrading. I would have fallen apart mentally. They were the string that helped me hold it together, and that string was worn pretty thin but it did the job (barely). However, I know not everyone is so lucky.

  • invalid-0

    And let’s not forget that the worst safety threat to women in the service is rape by their so-called “brothers-in-arms.”

  • invalid-0

    This is 100% biased!

  • bethany-niebauer

    How is it biased?

  • invalid-0

    The fact even though it is in black and white with the DOJ. It is not as bad as it is stated. It is not the Army’s role to provide sexual protection. Furthmore when overseas if the guys and girls are doing there job there is no time for sex. So why waste the money on protection. Also about the woman pilot if she is crying over the guys not sitting with her at lunch, well she needs to get over it or get out. Hell I am a guy and when it came to lunch and stuff, we usually ate alone. If I recall it is the female that wanted so badly to be part of the combat arms, if they do not like how us guys treat one another or other people then dont choose that job.
    For the person saying that she had to go through all the hassle of letting everyone know. It is for protecting the army so you can not turn around and sue them for not taking the percaution of you hurting the fetus or your self.

  • 29834273

    It’s horrible the military treats women so badly. I hope we get discrimination made illegal soon.

  • invalid-0

    It is not discrimination if the person does not keep up on the changes that are being made. Dang maybe I could sue people because they did not sit with me.

  • invalid-0

    How is it discrimination? It is not their fault that anyone does not keep up with changes.

  • invalid-0

    For what it’s worth, privacy issues not-with-standing, the DoD claims that TRICARE does pay for sexual assault forensic evidence kits (link from a friend in the navy in response to my posting this article).

  • invalid-0

    Despite what the antagonistic, anonymous commenter above might have to say, Bethany is quite right. The military should be interested in keeping all of its “assets” healthy, both physically and psychologically, which means that there is a crucial need for a paradigm shift.

    If I may quote the aforementioned commenter, correcting his spelling along the way, “It is not the Army’s role to provide sexual protection,” and about notifying one’s chain of command about a pregnancy, “It is for protecting the Army so you cannot turn around and sue them for not taking the precaution of you hurting the fetus or yourself.” There are so many avenues that I could pursue to criticize these excerpts, terrible grammar and spelling aside, but I chose them to expose a contradiction: might the military (or Army, as this commenter has stated, seeming not to realize the difference) better protect themselves by providing all that which Bethany has discussed? By catering to the needs of both genders, cannot the military improve the health, safety, and psyche of its forces, thus maximizing presence and mobility and hence, efficiency?

    On the chance that this anonymous character should return to find this critique, let me say things in a more straightforward manner, as I believe he is dense: if the military provides this necessary care to its voluntarily enlisted and commissioned members, rather than parading the issues about, it loses nothing and gains everything. In fact, such provision is likely to save the military quite a bit of trouble and expense. Why? (I can almost hear the little wooden cogs turning inside his thick skull.) What do people want or need more than to be cared for? Do you think that people are more likely to engage the courts for these matters if they are properly cared for? Probably not. Consider the comment by Jenn, titled “I know the feeling…” Might it have been more efficient to have given Jenn more options? How much time and manpower was wasted on all of the buzzing about that happened automatically after her test at the base hospital?

    More to the point, we could define the term healthcare as the means by which we protect a person’s health. Sexual, reproductive, and psychological issues demonstrably have an impact on the health of an individual, and thus, are encompassed by the term healthcare. If the military is to provide healthcare for those individuals that are–to use a cliched phrase–”making the ultimate sacrifice,” shouldn’t the military be truly caring for these volunteers’ health? If reproductive care need not be provided by the military, as our anonymous commenter implies, perhaps he would be comfortable living with erectile dysfunction as a symptom of prostate cancer. It would be interesting to see how his opinions change after his prostate swells to the size of a grapefruit, urination is excruciating, and sexual intercourse is next to impossible. It is likely that even masturbation would be impossible.

    I realize that, rather than made comments, I have asked several questions. These are, of course, rhetorical. I don’t need the answers. Instead, I have sought to reinforce Bethany’s ideas, and to encourage you, the reader, to ask these questions of yourself and others. By using questions, I am encouraging a dialogue, such that these ideas may expand and develop in new ways.

    I hope that, if you were unconvinced before, you have at least softened in your opposition, finding yourself empathizing with your fellow human beings. Of course, if Mr. Anonymous should return, I have doubts about his capacity to empathize, especially since I’ve made a jester of him in a public forum. Perhaps he can find the adult in himself and discover logic and empathy. Having done so, he could realize that his high school education taught him how to spell and construct sentences, and in his newfound enlightenment, he might apologize, with excellent grammar and spelling, for being the crass, unimaginative epitome of that which mandates the need for feminism.

    Good day.

  • invalid-0

    How bout you go hug a tree fag!

  • invalid-0

    I feel pain or sorrow for no one.

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