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War Zone Pregnancy Punishments Being Dropped

WASHINGTON  -- A recent military policy that added pregnancy to the list of reasons a soldier could be disciplined in a war zone will be rescinded by a new order drafted by the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Gen. Raymond Odierno drafted a broad new policy for the U.S. forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1, and that order will not include a controversial pregnancy provision that one of his subordinate commanders enacted last month, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.

Odierno's order comes about a week after the pregnancy policy issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo triggered a storm of criticism. Cucolo had issued a policy that would allow soldiers who become pregnant and their sexual partners to be punished.

The order listed a variety of offenses, and the punishments for them could range from minor discipline to a court-martial. But in a conference call with reporters earlier this week, Cucolo said he would never actually seek to jail someone over the pregnancy provision.

And he said the policy was intended to emphasize the problems created when pregnant soldiers go home and leave behind a weaker unit.

U.S. military leaders in Iraq conducted a full review of all existing orders as part of the ongoing transition in Iraq, and a new general order has been drafted. The order would consolidate several general orders from the U.S. commanders across Iraq. That policy, the military said Thursday, will not include the pregnancy provision.

Previously, the commanders have had the authority to draft their own restrictions.