The nonprofit legal group Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation filed a joint lawsuit Tuesday for federal documents related to an Obama-era policy to incorporate more women into combat roles in the Navy.
TheDCNF filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the federal government on Feb. 3, 2017, seeking documents and studies related to women serving in combat roles in the Navy. TheDCNF filed the FOIAs after the Obama administration changed military policy in 2015 to place more women on Navy ships.
TheDCNF FOIAs requested documents and studies related to how the Obama policy may affect military readiness.
The Obama policy allegedly impacted troop readiness and morale as women on board Navy ships took steps to avoid deployment, such as getting pregnant, Jude Eden, a former Marine deployed to Iraq and a nationally known author on women serving in the military, told TheDCNF in 2017. (RELATED: Exclusive: Deployed US Navy Has A Pregnancy Problem, And It’s Getting Worse)
In May 2015, then-Admiral Michelle Howard announced a goal of composing every Navy ship’s crew with 25% women.
Several years before the policy shift, the Obama administration began cutting down on reports related to women in the military. The “Navy Pregnancy and Parenthood Survey,” usually a 75- to 100-page annual document published by the Navy, was cut down to just a two- to three-page summary every year after 2011.
Women in the Navy are reassigned from ship to shore duty in the case of pregnancy, and documents show the percentage of women getting reassigned for such a reason rose after the change in policy.
“We all know that happens. Women do it to avoid deployment,” Eden told TheDCNF in 2017.
“It’s bad policy when you think of ships that have to be battle-ready and then have to transfer women off for pregnancy — something that has to do with controlled behavior or voluntary behavior,” Eden said.
A record 16 out of every 100 women serving on ships in the Navy were reassigned due to pregnancy in 2016. The stat was a year-over-year increase of 2%.
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