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Return from operational service due to pregnancy.



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Department of Defence Media Mail List -----------------------------------------------------------------------

CPA 215/07 Thursday, 26 July 2007

RETURN FROM OPERATIONAL SERVICE DUE TO PREGNANCY

Defence can confirm that a member from the 1st Reconstruction Task Force was returned to Australia from her deployment to Afghanistan in October 2006 due to pregnancy.

The individual concerned was not aware that she was pregnant at the time she deployed to Afghanistan, and upon realising her condition immediately informed her Commanding Officer on 17 October 2006.

Upon confirmation that the member was pregnant her Commanding Officer made the decision on 20 October 2006 to return the member to Australia as safely and as quickly as possible and arranged for her to depart on the next available flight.

This is in accordance with current Defence policy that personnel who are pregnant are not deployed on operations and that those who are found to be pregnant are returned to Australia.

At the time there were no indications of any problems with the pregnancy that warranted more urgent action.

Subsequently, the member departed Afghanistan on 23 October 2006.

Sadly, it was during this flight that the individual miscarried. At the time of her miscarriage the member was provided with first aid and was treated at a US medical facility before returning to Australia with a medical escort.

The circumstances of the member’s return to Australian and miscarriage were investigated at the time by the Australian Deputy Commander in Afghanistan.

It was found that the member was returned to Australia on the next available flight after it was discovered that she was pregnant.

Defence takes any allegation that it acted in a manner that would cause harm or undue distress to an individual in such

a sensitive medical condition extremely seriously and is disappointed that this issue has been re-raised in the media in such a careless manner.

Defence can confirm that this information was forwarded to the same media outlet that reported the story this evening over six months ago. Due to privacy issues the name of the member involved will not be released by Defence, and we request that her privacy be respected.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison (02) 6265 3343 or (0408) 498 664