Sexual relations are officially forbidden among British troops in a war zone. Following an “alarming” rise in pregnancies (133 servicewomen became pregnant in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past six years), the British military released an advertisement advocating the use of condoms by female troops, as there would be “50 blokes to each woman.”
The higher-ups in the United States military sing a similar tune. Sexual relations between unmarried men and women in the combat zone were not allowed until 2008. And while having sex is technically allowed now, it is strongly discouraged, with the further warning that it "can have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order, and discipline."
A news story came out recently reporting that the British military instructed the U.S. military to urge its female soldiers to carry condoms. You see, it’s important for women to understand that pregnancy is just a big ol’ inconvenience to veterans and soldiers alike. According to Tory MP Patrick Mercer, an ex-Army officer, "Pregnancies are incredibly expensive for the Army. One wonders why this sort of advertisement has only been used now."
The link that has been formed between the rise in pregnancies and the advocacy of female soldiers carrying condoms is dubious, at best. In the event that sexual contact occurs, is it not the man’s responsibility, as well the woman’s, to ensure that a child is not conceived? It is difficult to understand why we are still operating under the archaic notion that a pregnancy is a woman’s “fault” because she is either sleeping around or too stupid to understand contraception. Consistently, women are forced to take the “fall” for unplanned pregnancies even though the high rates of rape, sexual assault, and molestation in the military have been well-documented. But, as we shall see, it is always easier to treat the effects of a disease than work toward its prevention.
What is particularly noteworthy is that the rate of pregnancies among U.S. troops has not been documented in any way, shape, or form, making this decree excessively and unnecessarily speculative. Are military officials so afraid of the potential of female sexuality that each woman must be careful to safeguard her uterus? It will be a fine day when women’s participation in a noble and patriotic cause can be seen as just that, and not conditional upon her reproductive state.