LOL? Sob?

The Army general of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq has banned pregnancy among military personnel in his command, NBC News reported on Friday.

Anyone who becomes pregnant or impregnates another servicemember, including married couples assigned to the same unit, could face a court-martial and jail time, according to an order issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo.  msnbc

Major General Cucolo:

I have female soldiers in absolutely critical specialties and becoming pregnant takes them out of the fight.  And so that’s my message to the females – think before you do something, because I need you.  And for the males, if you take one of my soldiers out of the fight, well, there are consequences for that too.

I wonder if you get a buy if you agree to have an abortion?  If this strategy proves successful, Cucolo should patent it and sell it to parents of teens.

Trivial fact? —

Who knew the US was still fighting in Iraq?


A U.S. commander in northern Iraq does not expect to order a court martial for soldiers who become pregnant, but has not rolled back a controversial new policy on pregnancy, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

A new directive from Major General Tony Cucolo, who commands U.S. soldiers in northern Iraq, sets out possible punishments from reprimand to court martial for prohibited behaviour, including drinking alcohol, taking drugs or becoming pregnant.

The policy has been criticized by some women’s advocates and on Tuesday four U.S. senators wrote to the secretary of the U.S. Army on Tuesday asking that it be rescinded.

“We can think of no greater deterrent to women contemplating a military career than the image of a pregnant woman being severely punished simply for conceiving a child,” Senator Barbara Boxer and others wrote.   [more]

Not Just Indifference to Reproductive Justice

I’ve often heard it said that the power of the Roman Catholic Church in countries like Canada and the US is waning.  The bishops hardly seemed powerless in crafting Nancy Pelosi’s health care reform bill in the US House of Representatives.  But the places where it’s clear that the Church’s power is actually on the rise and will continue to grow are developing countries.  The Church’s position on reproductive justice is having a profound impact on the quality of many women’s lives in those countries.  And has a negative impact on climate change activism among “faith groups”:

The Catholic Church has studied and worked on issues of protecting the poor from climate change disaster for at least the last ten years. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is one of four members of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), which also includes the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the National Council of Churches of Christ and the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). The NRPE is part of a broader non-religious coalition, the Alliance for Climate Protection, whose board chairman is Al Gore, and which includes progressive groups such as, the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, Green for All and the U.S. Climate Action Network.

“Never has there been such conviction and commitment across the entire denominational and ideological spectrum as there is on this issue, and not least because of its impact on those who are most vulnerable to climate change but are the least responsible for it,” says Paul Gorman, executive director of NRPE.

But in some of those same vulnerable nations where Catholic Relief Services is often found caring for indigent communities, there are many unplanned or unwanted pregnancies—due to rape, lack of sexual and reproductive education, forbidden or faulty abortion procedures, or poor access to contraception. Most in the climate change struggle are not advocating for population control, but many agree that a reduction in unwanted pregnancies in destitute nations would help them better adapt to climate change problems. As RD contributing editor Michelle Goldberg wrote in a recent Daily Beast column, “Climate change isn’t a reason to force unwanted interventions on women. It’s a reason to mobilize an often-indifferent world to give women what they need.”

In a conversation with Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change (CCCC), which is affiliated with the Catholic Church, he championed the “rights of women.” Misleh maintained there “has to be empowerment of women and proper education… because those are the prime causes of poverty.” But he added that empowerment would not include women’s rights to access contraception and abortion.

More from Brentin Mock

And see Karen Hardee on climate change and reproductive health

Mothers Make Children “Fat”

I’m just waiting for a new law requiring restaurants to post signs saying “Pregnant Women Will Not Be Served Burgers and Fries”:

Pregnant women who routinely consume fatty foods could be predisposing their children to a lifetime of overeating and obesity, according to a surprising study.

The new research demonstrates that a mother’s diet can influence fetal development, essentially hard-wiring the brain so the child instinctively craves fat.

“Exposure to a high-fat diet in utero produces permanent neurons in the fetal brain that later increase the appetite for fat,” said the senior author of the study, Sarah Leibowitz of Rockefeller University in New York City. [Globe & Mail]

You’re dooming the brain of your child if you’re “fat”.  What next?  Don’t drink the water?  On the other hand, water may well be more dangerous.

Pah! Palin

There’s not likely to be a “last post” on Sarah Palin until and if McCain/Palin aren’t elected.  Here’s the last bit of one I really like by Dr. Sarah Churchwell of the School of American Studies in the UK:

Sarah Palin is not anti-abortion, because she has said that she would permit abortion if a mother’s life would end because of a pregnancy. (Her life as she knows it and chooses to lead it ending doesn’t not seem to pose a problem to Palin. The mother would have to actually die for her to think the mother gets to choose–which some wouldn’t consider a choice at all.) Palin doesn’t allow that there are any other circumstances under which a woman might be granted the right not to have a baby if she becomes pregnant against her will.

So let’s clarify the terms. It seems that everyone in Palin’s camp are for freedom of choice, but are under the impression that this is different from being pro-choice, because they’ve been convinced that being pro-choice is just a nefarious euphemism for being pro-abortion. No wonder they hate us. I’d hate anyone who ran around with an I “Heart” Abortions button, too. Abortions are not good for anyone. They are painful, and difficult, and traumatic. But at least now they are clean, and safe. And sometimes they are the best option available.

Sarah Palin is not pro-choice, and she is not for freedom of choice, except evidently for her daughter. But as the MSM accepts her characterization of herself as “anti-abortion”, it follows that the rest of us are pro-abortion. And thus once again they are setting the terms of the conversation, through mystification and double-talk.

Sarah Palin is anti-choice, and pro-coercion. She is a Republican who is for government intervention in the private reproductive decisions of citizens, and in no other arena. Although there is one way in which she is consistent: she does think that no matter who screws you, from rapists to HMOs to corrupt corporations, you’re stuck with the consequences.

She is for taking the choice away from everyone else, while celebrating her daughter’s right to make the “right” choice-a choice that would be rather nugatory if her policies were implemented, and that owes everything to the hard-won battles of feminists on the front line of the reproduction wars.

What the anti-choice lobby doesn’t want anyone to remember is that the debate is not about abortions versus no abortions. It is about safe abortions versus unsafe abortions. Because one of the many inconvenient truths that evangelicals like Sarah Palin choose to ignore is a little theological quandary called “free will.” Women who don’t want to be pregnant will not just lay down and turn into unwilling baby machines because the Sarah Palins of the world object to abortion, and want to sanctify the life of the unborn fetus. Unless the mother considers an unwanted fetus more holy than she is, abortions will ensue. That’s as much an unwelcome fact as is pregnancy for women who don’t want to be pregnant.  

Abortion is not some  evil new post-feminist invention. Abortion is as old as pregnancy. It’s as old as creation-and older than creationism. If Sarah Palin is right that men and women walked the earth with the dinosaurs, I guarantee you that women–and men–were attempting to abort unwanted pregnancies with brontosauruses watching them. (Except it turns out they weren’t really brontosauruses, doesn’t it? Which is the same kind of games with words and history that the Republicans are playing–and winning.) And women will have been dying from abortions then, and they’ll be dying again if we forget what choice means.

Read the whole thing here

via wood s lot

Marriage & Divorce in Pakistan

The first two question from a FAQ at the Pakistan Women’s Law Association:

Q 1. Can a man divorce his wife when she is pregnant?

Ans. Some religious scholars are of the opinion that a pregnant woman cannot be divorced. According to the Muslin Family Law Ordinance (MFL) the divorce will only become effective after the birth of the child.

Let me first explain the M.F.L Ordinance regarding divorce. According to MFL section 1 a person who wants to divorce his wife has to announce his intentions either verbally or in writing. After pronouncing divorce he must as soon as is possible notify the Chairman Panchayat Committee, in writing and also send a copy to his wife.

Any one who goes against the rules of sub section 1 is liable for punishment by imprisonment for up to a year or fined five thousand rupees or both.

Other than what is defined in sub section 5 of the MFL according to sub section 1, the divorce becomes effective after ninety days of notifying the Chairman of the Panchayat Committee.

According to sub section 1 after receiving notice of divorce, the Chairman will, within thirty days effect a reconciliation between the aggrieved parties. He will constitute a reconciliation council which will take all the necessary steps.

If the wife is pregnant at the time of the pronouncement of divorce, it does not become effective until after the birth or a termination of the pregnancy.

Q2. Can divorce take place in circumstances where the wife has not heard the pronouncement of the divorce and has no documentary proof and the divorce has been pronounced verbally only twice?

Ans. According to Fiqh Hanifia, divorce is of two kinds, one is called ‘Ahsan’ mode of divorce which is pronounced once every month for three months after each menstruation. The husband has to abstain from any physical contact with his wife during this time and the divorce then becomes effective after these three months.

The second method of divorce is the ‘Bid’at’ divorce. This according to Fiqh Hanifia, is when divorce is pronounced thrice in the same instance, and it becomes effective immediately. The mode of divorce dies not require any written documents, nor does it require the presence of witnesses. However this method of divorce has been severely frowned upon by the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and discouraged.

Other than this you have not clarified which Fiqh (sect) you belong to.

If you belong to the Sunni sect then your divorce is not final because the divorce has not been pronounced three times. If you belong to the Shia sect then divorce only becomes effective within three months.

In the Shia way, after pronouncement of divorce the Mullah will recite the ‘Segha’ between husband and wife in the presence of two witnesses and divorce is final after ninety days.

Besides this, legal proceedings are also necessary so that the divorce is legally final and according to the MFL Ordinance, notice has to be sent to the Chairman Panchayat Committee and the parties concerned.

So the answer to your question is that divorce is not final because it has not been pronounced three times, nor have any legal proceedings been initiated.

Now this is patriarchy.  Read the rest here


I think you could rack up 100 “sexisms” on the Palin sexism watch by now.  Many of the comments about Palin’s own pregnancy with her fifth child and the pregnancy of her daughter are simply beneath contempt.

Check the posts, and comments, at Shakesville, and Historiann for a better view.

And here’s what Obama said:

BO: I have heard some of the news on this and so let me be as clear as possible. I have said before and I will repeat again, I think people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics, it has no relevance to governor Palin’s performance as a governor or her potential performance as a vice president. And so I would strongly urge people to back off these kinds of stories. You know my mother had me when she was 18. And how family deals with issues and teenage children that shouldn’t be the topic of our politics and I hope that anybody who is supporting me understands that is off limits.

Jeff Zeleny: an unnamed McCain advisor as reported on Reuters that the despicable rumors have been spread on blogs some even with Barack Obama’s name on them.

BO: I am offended by that statement, there is no evidence at all that any of this involved us. I hope I am as clear as I can be. So in case I am not, let me repeat, we don’t go after people’s families, we don’t get them involved in the politics, it is not appropriate and it is not relevant. Our people were not involved in any way in this and they will not be. And if I ever thought it was somebody in the campaign that was involved in something like that they would be fired. Ok. Alright guys. Thank you.

Thank gawd.

UPDATE:  And see Zuzu’s post at Shakesville and Melissa McEwan at The Guardian’s Comment is Free, titled, “Pregnancy is No Political Football”  Right.  That.

UPDATE II:  And the inimitable mattt bastard, here and here

And BTW here’s what I said, buried in this post on Friday, before this had all gone quite so crazy as it’s gone now

UPDATE III:  I can’t believe AlterNet post this piece of crap from the Big Orange Satan

UPDATE IV:  Holy crap, Sally Quinn

And a big thanks to Atrios:

K-Tee asks:
Would Sally Quinn write this if the candidate in question were the father, not the mother?

No.This has been another edition of of simple answers to simple questions.

And Riverdaughter