NBC News
updated 12/18/2009 6:24:31 PM ET 2009-12-18T23:24:31

The Army general of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq has banned pregnancy among military personnel in his command, NBC News reported on Friday.

Anyone who becomes pregnant or impregnates another servicemember, including married couples assigned to the same unit, could face a court-martial and jail time, according to an order issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo.

The order, which went into effect on Nov. 4, was first reported by the military publication Stars and Stripes.

No one has been punished or accused under the policy, according to Col. David S. Thompson, the inspector general for all soldiers in Iraq.

Military officials say the order was issued because Army policy requires the force to remove a pregnant soldier from a war zone within 14 days of learning of the pregnancy, creating a hole in a unit that makes it more difficult to complete its mission.

“It is a lawful order,” Thompson said Friday during a phone interview with Stars and Stripes.

Thompson, who has served 29 of the past 39 months in Iraq as an inspector general, told the publication that it’s the first time he can recall pregnancy being prohibited.

So far, there have been no known violations of Cucolo's order, NBC reported.

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