- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Pregnancy and pushups are two things that just don't go well together. That's why Virginia Military Institute (VMI) has just instituted an entirely reasonable requirement that cadets who find themselves in a family way leave the Corps of Cadets. And that is a key point about the new policy, which went into effect yesterday: VMI, although state-supported, is not a regular college; it is a military college in which students are cadets many of whom are preparing for eventual entry into a branch of the armed services following graduation. Those who enter VMI seek a more rigorous and demanding experience, and they are fully aware of the sacrifices this entails. In addition to classwork, VMI cadets must also drill and participate in often-arduous physical training neither of which is conducive to a safe, healthy pregnancy.
It's not easy to do push-ups with a swollen belly or, more to the point, juggle the demands of parenthood with the grueling regimen of a cadet. And yet, the usual suspects in the ranks of the perpetually indignant feminists, "civil rights" lawyers, and other rabble-rousers who enjoy a ruckus for its own sake, even if it defies all reason have derided VMI's policy as "unconstitutional" and discriminatory. "We have grave concerns about it as a legal matter, as a policy of (ahem!) common sense," huffed Jocelyn Samuels of the National Women's Law Center in Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for its part, has indicated that a court challenge is in the offing and has encouraged a federal review of the matter to see whether the VMI policy violates Title IX of the federal anti-sex-discrimination law. Surprise, surprise.
It's important to note, though, that VMI's policy also applies to male cadets who father children. It is in no way an attempt to "put women in their place" and carries no vindictive or punitive component. VMI simply concluded that cadets who elect to get married, or who have sexual relations and become parents, cannot remain cadets. That seems fair especially to the child in question. How is it that the ACLU and other like-minded groups can take the position that cadets who voluntarily choose to marry or who engage in sexual activity and become pregnant as a result should not be expected to make accommodation and sacrifice, but that VMI should? The rules are clear going in, and those who choose to ignore or violate them must be prepared to deal with the consequences. Sometimes, you can't have it all, and only selfish, immature people don't see the reason in that. We all make choices and have to live with the consequences. Marriage and family entail major commitments which are incompatible with the unique mission of VMI. The school should be left in peace and allowed to carry on.

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