By lex, on July 25th, 2009
The case of the pregnant midshipman that received a waiver to graduate and be commissioned has been clarified ** by a spokesman from the Trade School on the Severn:
“There were unique circumstances surrounding this case, to include the fact that she had completed all academic requirements for graduation,” Cmdr. Brenda Malone, spokeswoman for the chief of naval personnel, wrote in a statement.
The Naval Academy administration discovered the midshipman was pregnant a few weeks before the May 22 graduation, and that “as a result, her eligibility for graduation and commissioning would require review,” (CDR Cappy) Surette said…
Under academy regulations, she could take a yearlong leave of absence and return to finish her coursework, or resign and be required to pay back the cost of her education, about $150,000. Regulations also state that if a follow-on pregnancy test shows that she is no longer pregnant, she can stay at the academy. The policy does not explicitly spell out abortion as an option.
Complicating this situation, the source said, was that the midshipman was engaged to the baby’s father and they planned to marry within a month of her graduating. If she took the leave of absence, she would spend the interim still a midshipman, forbidden from marrying, meaning the wedding would have to be canceled and her child born out of wedlock. Also, when the issue came to light, the woman had two exams left, meaning she would spend a year away from Annapolis, then return to take just two tests.
Rather than take one of the options, the midshipman and her family lobbied for an exemption so she could graduate, be commissioned, and be married, the source said.
The rules are written for a reason of course, but they don’t forbid the exercise of good judgment when waivers are requested. No one’s interests would have been served by forcing a young officer about to be married into having abortion weeks prior to graduation, or putting her on the bench for a year to take two finals.
This was a good call, and demonstrates that large and seemingly impersonal institutions can nevertheless have human hearts beating within them.
We all know this, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded.
** 09-08-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.