Man, I am really confused. I thought we all followed the science, especially in the military. So when the Navy comes out and says “Female Sailors can delay notification of pregnancy to their commands for up to 20 weeks,” I thought “Man, that’s a bad idea.” Then I immediately flayed myself for saying “Man” and not “Women, people who identify as women, and birthing people.”
But I digress. It is true, per ALNAV 017/23:
To provide Service Members with appropriate privacy protections in the early months of pregnancy, in accordance with reference (c), DON health care providers shall follow a presumption that they are not to disclose to a Service Member's command authorities a Service Member's pregnancy status prior to 20 weeks gestation unless this presumption is overcome by one of the notification standards listed below. In making a disclosure pursuant to the notification standards established below, Department of Defense (DoD) health care providers shall provide the minimum amount of information required to satisfy the purpose of the disclosure, consistent with applicable policy.
Normally we encourage female Sailors to report pregnancy fairly early. The reason behind this is science, because developing babies are very susceptible early on to a lot of environmental factors that are quite common in the military environment. Factors like radiation:
The effect of radiation exposure during pregnancy also depends on the gestational age of the fetus. The embryo/fetus is most susceptible to radiation during organogenesis (2 to 7 weeks gestational age) and in the first trimester. The fetus is more resistant to the radiation during the second and third trimester. Dose between 0.05 to 0.5 Gy is generally considered safe for the fetus during the second and third trimester while it is considered potentially harmful during the 1st-trimester fetus. Even though the fetus is more resistant to the radiation during the second and third trimester, a high dose of radiation (greater than 0.5 Gy or 50 rad) may result in adverse effects including miscarriage, growth reduction, IQ reduction, and severe mental retardation. Therefore, clinicians and radiologists should counsel the pregnant patient regardless of the gestational age.
Exposure to some organic solvents could increase your chances of having a miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, a low birth weight baby, or a baby with a birth defect.
Both animal and human studies have found that prenatal maternal stress affects the brain and behavior of the offspring. Stressful life events, exposure to a natural disaster, and symptoms of maternal anxiety and depression increase the risk for the child having a range of emotional, behavioral and/or cognitive problems in later life. These include depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and/or conduct disorders. There is an increased risk for other outcomes also, including preterm delivery and reduced telomere length, possibly indicative of an accelerated life history.
(I heard being in the military isn’t stressful though. The person that told me this was also encouraging me to buy shares in Silicon Valley Bank.)
The Navy isn’t hiding the reason behind delaying notification either. Its specifically to allow elective abortion, or as the Navy calls it, “non-covered abortion,” because the Navy does cover abortions in the event of a threat to a mother’s life, incest and rape (which it has always done, despite what every pro-death protestor will tell you). From ALNAV 017/23:
Pregnancy Termination. A Service Member considering terminating the pregnancy is encouraged to consult with a DoD health care provider or a licensed non-DoD health care provider from whom the Service Member is receiving care. The DoD health care provider will place the Service Member considering pregnancy termination in a medical temporary non-deployable status without reference to the Service Member's pregnancy status, until appropriate medical care and the necessary recovery period are complete.
Now, mind you, service members have always had the chance to abort children outside of military medical care. Planned Parenthood has certainly ensured that was an option, and while some states have banned abortion since Roe v Wade was overturned (13, according to Wikipedia), its not the majority. What has changed is Navy leadership, who decided to wade into the situation and dictate how commands would do their bidding. In ALNAV 018/23, they speak out of both sides of their mouth. On one hand, they demand Commanding Officers comply with law:
Consistent with existing law and Department policy, COs will protect the privacy of protected health information received under this policy, as they should with any other protected health information. Such health care information shall be restricted to personnel with a specific need to know; that is, access to the information must be necessary for the conduct of official duties. Personnel shall also be accountable for safeguarding this health care information consistent with existing law and Departmental policy.
Annnd on the other hand, they say “give people time off if its, you know, ILLEGAL in the state you are in:”
Approval Guidance. COs or approval authorities should grant an administrative absence to eligible Sailors and Marines when a non-covered reproductive health care need is identified by the eligible Service Member. Requests for administrative absence should be given all due consideration and should be granted to the greatest extent practicable, unless, in the CO's judgment, the Service Member's absence would impair proper execution of the military mission. If the CO denies the request, the Sailor or Marine may appeal the request to the next level of leadership.
How much you wanna guess that all appeals will be approved?
But then Navy commits the biggest woke sin of all…forgetting that we have “birthing people!”
I encourage you to visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center's, "Women's Health Toolbox," at https://www.med.navy.mil/Navy-Marine-Corps-Public-Health-Center/Womens-Health/ for additional information and resources on myriad women's health issues. Additional information on these policies can also be found at http://www.health.mil/ensuringaccesstoreproductivehealth. 10. Rest assured that the DON's work to implement the DoD's new policy is a priority. I expect cooperation from leaders across the Navy and Marine Corps to ensure appropriate input and efficient implementation of this new policy.
“I expect cooperation” really means “You will comply.” Why not just come out and say it?
This post represents the views of the author and not the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you enjoyed this post, why not donate to DaTechGuy or purchase one of the author’s books?