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Potential draft mandate for women

Congress voted 35-24 in favor of adopting an amendment to the 2022 defense bill requiring women to register for a draft. The amendment, which was proposed by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, would expand registration for the Selective Service System, known as the draft, to include women by removing any reference to “male”.

Military conscription ended in 1973, and the military has been an all-volunteer force ever since. 

According to The Hill, the Pentagon has promised that joining the military will remain voluntary,but men ages 18-25 are still required to register for the draft.

It is now up to the House to confirm that the amendment will stay in the bill, which they have voted to pass.

One reason military conscription ended 50 years ago is its highly controversial nature, especially after the Vietnam War. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the men able to avoid the draft were the ones of high class with resources, such as the resources to enroll in college.

“Beyond that inequity is a simple question of principle: If the public doesn’t support a war enough to muster an all-volunteer military to fight it, should it be fought? No war in history answers that question better than Vietnam did,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

Houlahan said women deserve the equal right to participate in the military and the Selective Service System.

“The current male-only registration sends a message to women not only that they are not vital to the defense of the country, but also that they are not expected to participate in defending it,” Houlahan said. “Women make up over 50% 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.”

President Joe Biden said he does not think the draft will be necessary, but he does approve of treating women equally.

“The United States does not need a larger military, and we don’t need a draft at this time,” Biden said. “I would, however, ensure that women are also eligible to register for the Selective Service System so that men and women are treated equally in the event of future conflicts.”

Two previous Trump administration members, Russel Vought and Jessica Anderson, said they disapprove of the potential draft mandate, saying, “Don’t draft our daughters.”

Joy Cortegio, a freshman at Oklahoma Christian University, said she does not approve of the draft because it will be detrimental to the United States military.

“I think drafting women for the military is not a good idea because it will make the military weaker,” Cortegio said. “Because men obviously are just naturally stronger, they can withstand more. They kind of have more of those instincts that I guess you’d say would be used in the military.”

Mariah Hays, who works for the Pentagon, said the draft might not even require women to do frontline work. 

“You can’t expect someone who’s never run a day in their life to be able to jump right into a 4 to 8 shift and non-stop training and boot camp,” Hays said. “There needs to be screenings that are tailored to the female body and make those requirements that the body can tolerate. There are regulations right now.”

Hays suggested alternative positions in the military that would fulfill the draft without forcing women into combat, including cooks, doctors, accountants and aviation supply.

Cortegio said the ability to draft women would increase the risk of taking both parents away from their children.

“I feel like it’s just something that would not be the best for our country and for the military and for families,” Cortegio said. “If all these young women are being drafted then there’s gonna be a shortage of children. And leaving children without parents would be a disaster.”

If the amendment remains in the 2022 defense bill, it will go into effect after one year. The final decision will be made on Sept. 30.

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