X-Message-Number: 16609
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 15:52:41 EDT
Subject: Here are Some Numbers

Jessica Lemler asked for some numbers to back up my assertions about women in 
the military. Here they are. I'm still thinking about how to address the more 
subjective problem of the contribution of gay males to cryonics. 


An excellent reference on the incidence of sexual harassment of females in 
the military can be found at: 
http://www.nwlc.org/pdf/Military%20Harassment.pdf. This paper is a 
compilation of a number of both government and private studies of this issue. 
The following excerpt is relevant to my claims:

A 1980 Pentagon study found that 60% of women in the Navy had been sexually 
harassed; a 1984 study found that 84% of Navy women sampled had been sexually 

The 1980 Study Group of Progress of Women in the Navy found that over half of 
the 1,400 women interviewed had been victims of sexual harassment while in 
the Navy.

The DOD Task Force on women in the Military in 1988 reported that sexual 
harassment remains a "significant problem" in all the services.

A 1990 study of over 20,000 military personnel conducted by the Defense 
Manpower Data Center found that nearly 2 out of every three women were 
sexually harassed in the prior year.

Typical victims were enlisted women but 12% were female officers.

Other sites of interest on this topic are:




The following site contains an extensive bibliography relating to problems of 
women in the military, as well as the benefits. Many of the studies are 
available on-line:




Data on the pregnancy rate for female military personnel are available in the 
following report:

"Military Attrition," United States General Accounting Office, Washington, 
D.C., GAO/NSIAD-98-213, September 1998, pp. 5-45. 

To summarize:

At any given time, up to 18% of Navy women are pregnant and a study of two 
ships showed a pregnancy rate as high as one in three. That's nearly 8,423 
women, or enough to crew almost two aircraft carriers. During Desert Storm, 
1,145 women on ships needed to be reassigned because of pregnancies, at an 
average of 95 per month. 

Data from the USS Eisenhower, which was the first combat vessel opened to 
female crew members, demonstrated that pregnancies increased from five to 39 
in within the space of a few months. At the conclusion of one tour of duty 
13% of the female crew became pregnant. A major problem with this is that 
current policy requires pregnant sailors to leave shipboard duties and does 
not provide a mechanism for their replacement.

One reason for the pregnancy problems may be the following CURRENT policy on 
abortions for US female military personnel and female dependents of male 
military personnel:


"The Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 1996 and the Department 
of Defense Authorization Act for FY 1996 revise the DoD policy. Prepaid 
abortions are no longer allowed, except in cases in which the pregnancy is 
the result of an act of rape or incest. Please assure compliance with the new 
law. Authority to provide prepaid abortions in overseas facilities is limited 
to cases in which the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest. 
     The new statutory provision does not affect the current law or policy 
regarding abortions in cases in which the life of the mother would be 
endangered if the fetus were carried to term. In such cases, abortions may be 
provided using appropriated funds." 

That's the current policy. Military women defending our country overseas can't
terminate an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy at a Military hospital, even if 
they pay
for it and a Doctor agrees to do it, unless it's rape, incest or it endangers 
the mother's
life. In rape or incest cases, the servicewoman must pay for the abortion. 

Current News: On June 9th, 1999, an attempt by Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) 
and Carrie Meek (D-FL) to lift the ban on privately funded abortions for 
military personnel and dependents stationed overseas in overseas military 
medical facilities failed. 

I think there's some serious problems with this policy. I'm not going to go 
into the morality of people's sexual activities; that's their business. 
Instead, I'll say this: Sometimes people DO get pregnant when they don't want 
to, for a variety of reasons, including failure of the birth control method 
in use. If a servicewoman becomes pregnant before she's ready, she's left 
with these options:

a. Take leave (if possible) from her duty station to fly (if she has the 
money) back to the US to pay for her abortion.

b. Go to a foreign hospital (which may be of questionable sanitation or 
development) where they speak a foreign language to receive an abortion (if 
they perform them.)

c. Wait until her pregnancy has advanced far enough for the government to fly 
her back to the US, where she'll have the baby. From there she'll receive 
orders. About 4 to 6 months after delivery she'll need to either leave the 
child to fulfill her duties overseas (if unaccompanied), or take the child 
with her, if possible. In a few cases, she may be kept stateside with the 
child. This is bad for her career, her training, and the unit, who will do 
without her for a year or more. Pregnancy is considered an "unplanned loss", 
and therefore replacements are rarely sent.

Ideally, we'd never have any unplanned pregnancies. But let's be realistic. 
It happens all the time in the civilian sector. Military women are just like 
everyone else.

I haven't even touched on the problems for female dependents overseas. This 
policy applies just as strongly to the serviceman whose 15 year old daughter 
gets pregnant. Think about it."

Obviously, these numbers are open to interpretation. It depends on what you 
consider acceptable. I do not consider these numbers acceptable and I concede 
that this is a personal evaluation. An added factor causing resentment in the 
military with totally equal deployment of women is that their lifting and 
carrying capacity is typically less than that of men. A problem with failing 
to take this into account is that male personnel often end up doing extra 
duty to compensate for females assigned to their unit. The problem here is 
NOT with women, it is with ignoring a biological fact that upper body 
strength and general physical strength is greater on average in men than in 
women. This doesn't make women inferior; they have other advantageous traits 
in the military environment that men don't have. However, ignoring these 
differences leads to problems and there are multiple instances of complaints 
relating to this kind of thoughtless policy making.

Finally, I have no problems with women or gays in the military per se, just 
problems with their presence as things are currently configured. Changes in 
how the military is organized and changes in the nature of warfare could 
address most of these problems. However, as it stands now there is a problem 
and in my opinion the military is not likely to address it successfully any 
time soon. The "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy has been an 
abject failure and the number of servicepersons ejected from the military for 
homosexuality is at an all time high (just do a Google or Metacrawler search 
for hundreds of sites and references documenting and discussing this problem 
from many perspectives).

Mike Darwin

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