Britain re-fitting its submarines for pregnant sailors’ health needs

James P. writes:

The Daily Mail reports that the British Navy is modifying its submarines at great expense to accommodate women. I was surprised to learn that “female submariners will have to take pregnancy tests before going to sea and then again seven days into their deployment.” I would have thought such a policy would draw howls of outrage about violations of privacy. I am more skeptical about the Royal Navy’s assertion that “today’s female sailors are top-class professionals” who will not risk their careers as submariners by becoming pregnant on a cruise. We know that female soldiers and sailors have deliberately gotten pregnant in order to avoid much less stressful environments than a submarine.

It’s all being done—of course—on the basis of equality. But—of course—it’s not equality, because the women have special needs which require special accommodations. Thus if a female sailor is found, during a submarine mission, to be pregnant, she will have to be transferred out of the sub, requiring the sub to change its course, to rendezvous with a surface ship, etc., a process that could take weeks. During those weeks, she must have special air to breathe which has a lower percentage of carbon dioxide than the normal air on the sub. She would also presumably need special quarters with its own air supply.

Equality between entities that are fundamentally different from each other is a contradiction in terms. But don’t expect right-liberals to acknowledge that inescapable fact of life. They insist that all individuals must and can be treated equally. But, always and without fail, this supposed equal treatment for all individuals turns automatically into special and different treatment for the members of the newly “equally treated” group, transforming and ultimately destroying the very institution/culture/standards in which and under which the newly included individuals were supposedly being equally included. Thus right-liberalism (equal treatment of all individuals) turns instantly into left-liberalism (the unconditional opening of an institution or society to the unassimilable Other). The same phenomenon happens over and over again, yet not a single mainstream voice in modern Western society has ever identified it. Why? Because the truth that would discredit the sovereign of a regime can never be spoken. And in the modern West, liberalism is the sovereign.

Here is the article:

£3million to convert our subs for women … with a separate air supply in case they get pregnant!
20th December 2011

Royal Navy submarines will be fitted with emergency air supplies in case women serving on them are found to be pregnant.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed military chiefs would spend up to £3million making subs female-friendly. [LA replies: I’m surprised the changes will only cost £3 million; but it seems the only changes being made are for the air supply, not for, say, special quarters for female sailors. So it appears that the male and female sailors will be sharing sleeping quarters, heads, etc. But still, once a sailor is found pregnant and must have special air for several weeks until she is transferred off the sub, wouldn’t she need to have a special room where that special oxygen-rich air is available?]

It came after he announced that women would for the first time be allowed to serve beneath the waves, breaking 100 years of tradition.

Officers will be permitted to join Vanguard-class subs, which carry the Trident nuclear deterrent, from 2013.

Women of lower rank will follow two years later, when they will be able to serve on the new £1.2billion Astute-class “hunter-killer” submarines.

Women had been barred from subs because of concerns that carbon dioxide in the recycled air could damage their fertility, but a report by experts at the Institute of Naval Medicine concluded that health fears were “unfounded.”

Pregnant sailors, however, will still be banned from going to sea amid concerns that fumes could damage an unborn child.

Mr Hammond told the Commons yesterday subs would be fitted with an emergency air-supply system for any female crew member found to be expecting a child. This is likely to be portable oxygen tanks.

A pregnant submariner would use this air supply, containing lower levels of carbon dioxide, until she can be evacuated from the vessel. This could in theory be several weeks.

Part of the £3million will be used to fit submarines with separate bunks and showers for women. This is almost twice the sum it would cost to give medals to the heroes of the Arctic convoys of the Second World War.

Mr Hammond said: “There will be a cost both to provide appropriate accommodation and to provide emergency air supplies so that should any female submariner be found to be pregnant on board, that submariner will be able to breathe from a discrete air supply until such time as she can be medically evacuated.

“The only reason women were not eligible for the submarine service was that, until recently, the best medical evidence suggested that there could be a risk to health.

“It is now clear that risk does not exist.”

Female submariners will have to take pregnancy tests before going to sea and then again seven days into their deployment.

The aim is to root out sailors who did not realise they might be pregnant.

A naval source said: “The chances of someone going to sea pregnant are minuscule, but we want to make sure that we are taking all necessary precautions to avoid it.

“You can’t guarantee it won’t happen, but today’s female sailors are top-class professionals.

“If they have set their sights on becoming a submariner and trained hard to fulfill that, they are unlikely to risk not going on operations by becoming pregnant.”

The lifting of the ban ends one of the last all-male bastions of the Armed Forces after pressure for equal opportunities throughout the military.

Wrens have served on Royal Navy surface ships since a ban was lifted two decades ago.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 20, 2011 03:35 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):