Some complain that it infringes on a woman's reproductive rights. My view is that women use the pregnancy thing to get out of unpleasant military assignments, and then men must be reassigned to those now vacant positions.
When I was in the Navy, my sea/shore rotation was 60/24. That means that for every 60 months I was assigned to a sea going command, it would be followed by 24 months in a shore command. Since a person on shore duty is home nearly every night, shore duty is highly prized. Since there are far more sea duty posts than shore posts, sea duty is usually the first (and only) assignment for a new sailor.
During my 6 years in the Navy, I spent the first year in school, and then the next 5 assigned to a ship. That ship spent 3 and a half of those 5 years at sea, including 3 deployments overseas for 6, 7, and 9 months, respectively.
Women, on the other hand, frequently are assigned to shore duty as soon as they complete initial training. Those who are assigned to sea duty frequently turn up pregnant as soon as the unit is scheduled to deploy overseas. They are then immediately reassigned to shore duty.
Some other unfair facts: Women who are assigned to shore duty outside the continental US (including Hawaii) are counted as being on sea duty, even though they are home every night. A man in the exact same billet is counted as shore duty. So a woman could be assigned to Hawaii for 5 years, and be eligible for 2 years of shore duty in San Diego, while a man in the exact same job would do 5 years floating on a Destroyer, followed by 2 years at San Diego.
Getting pregnant in order to go home is no different than shooting off your toe to go home. And saying it's an "accident" is a load of crap. It's no mystery how pregnancy occurs. It's no magical "accident"
Women have claimed for years that they want the same chances as men to advance in the military, but frequently use their gender as an excuse to escape the real work. It is about time they were held to task.
Edited to add:
Some shore commands in the Norfolk, Va., area report that up to 34 percent of their billets are filled by pregnant sailors, and commanders are complaining about a “lack of proper manning to conduct their mission,” according to a Naval Inspector General report.
When sailors on sea duty become pregnant, they are transferred to shore-based commands that fit certain criteria, such as being close to a Navy medical center. The length of that assignment changed in June 2007, when the Navy extended the postpartum tour from four months after a child’s birth to 12 months. Combined with a nine-month pregnancy, that puts expectant mothers on limited duty for up to 21 months.
21 months? Picture this: you join the Navy, and finish two months of Boot Camp, and 4 months of A school. You get your orders, and get travel time and up to 30 days of leave, then report aboard your first ship: You have been in the Navy for 7 months, and have not contributed to the mission one bit. You get pregnant, and sit on shore duty for 21 months. You now have been in the Navy for 28 months- more than half of your enlistment is over, you have done NOTHING to earn the money you have been paid, and the taxpayer has paid for your medical care and training.
There are 54,000 women serving in the US Navy- and last year, 3,125 (5.8%) of them got pregnant. If that is an average year, then there are 9,375 women (17.4%) on shore duty due to pregnancy at any given time.
To top it off, the woman then gets another set of orders to go somewhere else, which entitles her to another 30 days of leave (because of her change in duty station). Since she is a single mother, she is now entitled to a hardship discharge. It is a waste of money, and turns the military into another government welfare/social program.
The proposed rule change? The military commander was forced to rescind the policy. We can't infringe on a woman's right to land on her back with her legs open, now can we? Even if everyone else gets to pay for it: The men of the military who must carry the extra load, the taxpayer who must foot the bill, and the country that is left with a weaker defense system.