[WATCH] “Women Are In To Serve”: Joni Ernst Blasts McSally’s Assertion About Pregnancy In the Military
Joni Ernst, the Senator from Iowa took issue with something that Sen. Martha McSally wrote in 2007 in a law journal where she suggested that military women should be persuaded not to avoid deployment by the “foolishness of entering into a lifetime commitment (motherhood).”
“Women in Combat: Is the Current Policy Obsolete?” was the name of the article at the center of the dispute, and in the article, McSally urged the Pentagon to change its policy that allows servicewomen to use the fact that they are pregnant to “skirt” their responsibility. McSally is celebrated as the first woman to become a combat pilot in U.S. military history.
Ernst is a veteran herself as she served in the Iowa National Guard and is a veteran of the first Iraq War serving in Kuwait and retired after 22 years as a lieutenant colonel. Ernst made her feelings known about McSally’s views during an appearance at Barefoot Bar in Lake Okiboji, Iowa, where Salon captured everything on video. When Ernst was asked if she thought women used pregnancy to get out of duty, she said, “I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so.” She also said, “Most of the time, too, when you’re put on notice it would be really hard for them to get their cycle and everything.”
Ernst went on to talk about an experience she had with a soldier who had a child. She said, “As a matter of fact, my experience has kind of been the opposite,” Ernst continued. “I had a young woman — her husband was in my unit, too — and they had a baby that was under a year old. I gave her the opportunity to stay home and excuse her from going on deployment, and she said ‘No, this is why I’ve trained.’ She and her husband both deployed and left their child here with her parents. So I don’t think they do. There could be circumstances out there, but by and large, women are in to serve.”
Ernst’s experience directly contradicts that of McSally’s who had the opposite story to tell. she said, single, pregnant, junior enlisted personnel was 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.”
You can read the full report here.