Military to ditch policy punishing pregnant soldiers.

As of Nov. 4, active-duty soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo — who is responsible for operations in northern Iraq — have faced possible punishment if they either become pregnant or impregnate a fellow servicemember. The policy said that they could even receive jailtime, although Cucolo has said that he never intended to put pregnant women in prison. The policy was harshly criticized by women’s rights advocates, including U.S. senators. Reuters reports that Gen. Ray Odierno, Commanding General Multi-National Force in Iraq, said today that he would be lifting Cucolo’s rules:

General Ray Odierno said the new, Iraq-wide guidelines would take effect beginning January 1, lifting rules enacted by the U.S. commander in northern Iraq, who reports to Odierno, that laid out possible punishments for pregnancy among his soldiers. […]

“That will not be in my orders from January 1,” Odierno told Reuters on the sidelines of a seminar in Baghdad, responding to a question about whether possible punishment for soldiers who become pregnant or impregnate other soldiers would be part of new, Iraq-wide guidelines Odierno plans to issue shortly.

According to U.S. policy now, individual commanders can issue rules on behavior for troops under their command that are more strict than those issued by their military superiors.