On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee voted to expand registration for the Selective Service System to include women.
According to Politico, lawmakers voted 35-24 to adopt an amendment from Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), who's also an Air Force veteran.
"Women make up over 50 percent of our population, and not including them in the Selective Service is not only a disservice to these women, but also to our nation as a whole," Houlahan said in a statement posted to her Twitter account.
I know it's late, but I just finished defending my #NDAA amendment to include women in the military selective service system.— Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) September 2, 2021
Simply put, as the selective service system is currently written it is unconstitutional and discriminates based on sex. pic.twitter.com/pxZ0NG5uLA
Presently, men are required under U.S. law to register for the draft once they turn 18, even though the last draft took place over 40 years ago.
Wednesday's vote followed a contentious debate which was met with some Republican opposition while others voted alongside Democrats.
Republican supporters such as Florida Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida, a former Army Green Beret, cautioned that the U.S. military should expand its pool of recruits in the event of "a national emergency so grave" that a draft should be required.
"If it's so grave that we have to go to a draft, we need everybody," Waltz continued. "We need man, woman, gay, straight, any religion, Black, white, brown. We need everybody, all hands on deck."
The move could also incite further conservative opposition to the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes defense spending and lays out military policy.
Calls to expand registration beyond men have continued to grow after the Pentagon opened all military combat roles to women in 2015. Advocates of the amendment contend that the current system is discriminatory.
Despite the bipartisan support on Wednesday, conservative lawmakers and advocacy groups argued that the move is unnecessary for women.
"We don't need to draft women in order for women to have equality in this nation," Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) explained. "Women are of worth and of value right now, and we are equal with men without having to pass a new law that would require 50 percent of this country — our daughters and our sisters and our wives — to have to be drafted."
In July, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a similar expansion of the draft in a bipartisan vote. The full Senate is expected to debate the defense bill this fall.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Guvendemir
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.