Quantcast
Connect with us

BUSTED: Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally says women in the military get pregnant to ‘skirt’ deployment in unearthed 2007 video

Published

on

Arizona Republican senator and former Air Force combat pilot Martha McSally once published an academic paper in which she said military servicewomen should be counseled against the “foolishness of entering into a lifetime commitment (motherhood)” to avoid deployment, and called for the Pentagon to repeal the policy that allows women to use pregnancy as an excuse to “skirt” their commitment.

ADVERTISEMENT

The article, titled “Women in Combat: Is the Current Policy Obsolete?” appeared in a 2007 edition of the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy. At the time, McSally, the first female combat pilot in U.S. history — and the first-ever losing Senate candidate to immediately receive a Senate seat — was pursuing a second graduate degree at Air War College.

She later expanded on the article in a lecture at the Duke University School of Law, which hosts a full video on its website. A clip about the pregnancy issue can be seen here.

State polls have shown McSally consistently down by double digits against Democratic challenger Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords. Last month, Kelly was up 15 points among women.

McSally ran for an open Senate seat in Arizona in 2018, but was narrowly defeated by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. Then McSally was appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to fill the seat formerly held by the late Sen. John McCain. She could end up losing two U.S. Senate races in the same state within two years, a rare accomplishment.

In the article, the former squadron commander calls for a cultural shift to teach servicewomen that it is “not appropriate” to have a child just because they want to.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The military must foster a culture in which military women understand that it is not appropriate to get pregnant whenever they desire,” she writes. “Instead, women need to realize their duties take precedence. They must take measures to prevent unplanned pregnancies and plan for pregnancies to occur only when they are in non-deployable situations.” She does not elaborate on what those measures might include, and later rules out abortion as an acceptable option.

McSally goes on to explain that the primary “issue” with her proposal is that senior officials would have trouble saying with certainty exactly what a woman’s “intent” was behind her pregnancy. The solution, she says, is for senior officers to offer “proper counseling” for women:

Military leaders must create a climate where commanders are not afraid to talk about pregnancy as a readiness issue and to counsel female warriors on their obligation to avoid pregnancies when it will negatively impact unit readiness. The issue is intent, which is difficult to enforce except through strong leadership, a call to dedication and integrity, and proper counseling for military women.

ADVERTISEMENT

McSally’s policy solution to this “foolishness” also hinges on counseling.

“It is the author’s recommendation that young service women, especially, need to be counseled about the foolishness of entering into a lifetime commitment (motherhood) in order to be released early from a four- or six-year commitment to serve in the military,” she says.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Her paper notes that the courts have ruled, in the 1976 case Crawford v. Cushman, that discharging pregnant servicewomen violated the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause, because the policy assumes that pregnant women are permanently unfit for duty.)

McSally’s most ambitious proposal is to repeal longstanding Pentagon policy that, in her words, allows pregnant women to “skirt” their duty.

The Department of Defense should rescind the policy that allows servicewomen to skirt their commitment to the military due to pregnancy. It must also create a climate where commanders are encouraged to counsel military women on their responsibilities to not plan a pregnancy during deployment vulnerability times or when serving in jobs where pregnancy would prohibit them from conducting their primary duties.

ADVERTISEMENT

McSally, who during a 2019 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed in emotional testimony that she had been “preyed upon and raped by a senior officer,” writes that in her experience as a squadron commander “single, pregnant, junior enlisted personnel were considered the most problematic because the pregnancies were less likely to be planned and more likely to create other problems, such as financial and child-care problems, that impacted the unit.”

A New York Times report published soon after that hearing specifies that McSally had been assaulted soon after entering the Air Force Academy, in 1988.

The law journal paper does not address unwanted pregnancies as a result of rape.

McSally spins her argument as feminist, even though “some argue that droves of women will get pregnant to avoid the possibility of serving in combat.” The military, she says, should not apply “double standards” to any service members, and pregnancies can create the “perception or reality” of a double standard.

ADVERTISEMENT

The article does not address in any detail the role of men in conception or parenthood, but does call parenthood a permanent condition that affects servicemen and servicewomen alike.

“Single parents and dual military parents are obligated to have a plan for care of their children in event of deployment and many manage their duties and parenthood admirably,” she argues. “Servicewomen should not be allowed to avoid their service obligations merely because they become pregnant.”

McSally goes on to liken unplanned pregnancies to injuries or diseases, but rules out abortion as a acceptable solution.

“The author realizes accidents may happen, and units should deal with them just like unplanned injuries and illnesses. There is a fine line between creating an ethos that addresses this issue seriously and not encouraging women to have abortions or endanger the health of their babies for fear of potential career implications,” she says.

ADVERTISEMENT

In her 2019 Senate testimony, McSally said that “weaknesses in the processes” had motivated her “to make recommendations to Air Force leaders, shaped my approach as a commander, and informed my advocacy for change while I remained in the military and since I have been in Congress.”

Even though McSally, the first female squadron commander in U.S. history, said that she “felt raped by the system,” she still believed that only military courts should handle sexual assault cases, arguing that commanders would otherwise be let off the hook.

She spoke more freely in her lecture at Duke, saying that the policy of giving temporary leave to pregnant women was “ludicrous” and that the mere prospect of a pregnancy is “enough to cause a problem” that all servicewomen get “lumped into.”

“You know, go work at Walmart if you want to do that,” she says. “Nothing against Walmart.”

One year before her Senate testimony, McSally also disclosed that she was raped in high school by her track coach, who pressured her into having sex with him.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Even though he didn’t physically force me, it certainly was an emotional manipulation,” McSally said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Afterwards, she stepped up her running regimen in an effort to stop her menstrual cycle, which she said had happened before when she ran long-distance.

“I was freaking out that he would get me pregnant,” she said.

Watch the clip of McSally’s Duke University lecture:


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Lindsey Graham encouraged voters to apply for mail ballots in May — now he claims the practice is prone to fraud

Published

on

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has voted by mail at least four times, according to election officials in Oconee County, South Carolina, and voter records obtained by Salon.Public records show that Graham has cast a total of nine absentee ballots since 2004, but South Carolina classifies "absentee" to man both in-person early voting and voting by mail. After Salon's review with Oconee County election officials, it appears four of those absentee ballots were cast by mail.
Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘It’s worse than ever’: White House has someone new to blame for Trump’s downward spiral

Published

on

According to a report from Politico, a substantial number of Republican insiders now see no way for Donald Trump to turn around his re-election campaign before November.

With less than 100 days to go before the election and his polling numbers in free-fall, the president has been getting input from unofficial advisers like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) who have urged him to use some of the campaign tricks that served him well in 2016 -- but others close to the president say they won't work this time.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘You don’t want to go there’: Morning Joe slaps down Trump campaign’s new attack

Published

on

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," co-host Joe Scarbrough took a shot at Donald Trump's new campaign manager who made his debut on Fox News on Monday for his comments about former Vice President Joe Biden,  saying he is pushing a line of attack that will blow up in his face.

During his appearance on Fox & Friends, Bill Stepien who recently took over the faltering Trump campaign, launched an attack on Biden saying you can "judge him" by the people he surrounds himself with.

After watching the clip, MSNBC host Scarborough said the campaign manager was making a big mistake.

"You just don't want to go there," the MSNBC host warned. "That was President Trump's newly promoted campaign manager making his first TV appearance yesterday, and he was talking about the people that Joe Biden surrounds himself with."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image