Senate Democrats are proposing a landmark change to the nation’s military laws that would require young women to register for Selective Service, thereby making them eligible for being drafted into war, according to Politico.
Under the current requirement, men must register with the Selective Service System upon reaching the age of 18. Selective Service keeps a list of all men ages 18-25 eligible for the draft.
But proposed language authored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) would expand registration for the service to “All Americans,” according to Politico. Reed is chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The proposal could be considered this week during a committee hearing.
The proposal by Reed would “reignite a contentious debate over whether women should be required to register for the draft,” Politico said. Democrats control both chambers of Congress.
The proposal mirrors the recommendation of an 11-person commission created by Congress that released its final report in March 2020 but was overshadowed by the growing pandemic. That report said the “time is right” to “extend Selective Service System registration to include men and women.”
“This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency,” the report said.
Reed’s proposal sparked plenty of pushback on social media.
“No. You are not drafting our daughters,” tweeted Russ Vought, a former Trump administration official who is now the president of the Center for Renewing America.
No. You are not drafting our daughters. https://t.co/rm7yml9w0u— Russ Vought (@russvought) July 19, 2021
“No. Non-negotiable,” tweeted Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), referencing the Politico story.
No. Non-negotiable. Thanks. https://t.co/aiqfbZIJIB— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) July 19, 2021
The U.S. Supreme Court this year declined to consider the constitutionality of the male-only draft, upholding a 2020 decision by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had declared the male-only draft constitutional. The Supreme Court in 1981 upheld the gender-based registration requirement.
In 2016, when the issue was also being discussed, Concerned Women for America issued a statement supporting a male-only draft.
“We firmly believe in the equality of men and women, but that does not require us to ignore the physical differences and unique risks to women in combat, particularly in the case of capture,” the statement said. “The female draft discussion should revolve around combat readiness, efficiency, and national security, and weeding through applicants that are overwhelmingly biologically unable to meet combat standards would be a logistical nightmare and would force the lowering of combat standards. … Forcing women to serve in combat against their will is a deep departure in U.S. policy. Uncle Sam needs to keep his hands off of our daughters.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.