A primer on the unique challenges of female soldiers' reproductive issues in a war-ready culture

April S. Fitzgerald, Rita L. Duboyce, Joan B. Ritter, Deborah J. Omori, Barbara A. Cooper, Patrick G. O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In 1951, a U.S. Presidential Executive Order outlined regulations governing the involuntary separation of women from military service in the event of pregnancy, parenting, or giving live birth while on commissioned service. Subsequent public law and court decisions have changed the rules on female soldier pregnancy and parenting. Initially capped at 2%, maximum allowable percentage of the military, female soldiers now comprise over 14% of the U.S. active duty military, numbering over 200,000. The issues of sexuality, family planning, pregnancy, breast feeding, and family care are unique in this population and affect soldier readiness and deployment planning. Many of these challenges are amenable to physician intervention and guidance to ameliorate the barriers to service. Both clinicians and policy makers should be attentive to advancing a system that affords equal opportunity and optimizes health for all service members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-516
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume178
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Fitzgerald, A. S., Duboyce, R. L., Ritter, J. B., Omori, D. J., Cooper, B. A., & O'Malley, P. G. (2013). A primer on the unique challenges of female soldiers' reproductive issues in a war-ready culture. Military Medicine, 178(5), 511-516. https://doi.org/10.7205/MILMED-D-12-00384