Moms and Dads, are you ready for your daughters to register for the draft?
This is not a theoretical question:
Women may soon be required to register for the military draft.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a $602 billion defense bill Tuesday that included an amendment that would require women to register for the draft — also known as the selective service — for the first time in history.
The National Defense Authorization Act passed 85-13, although some Republican senators protested against the inclusion of the provision pertaining to women and the draft.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, slammed the measure last week during a Senate session, calling it "a radical departure" from American history.
"The idea that we should forcibly conscript young girls into combat to my mind makes little or no sense," he said.
Senator John McCain predictably "rebuked" Cruz for his remarks.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced late last year that all positions in the military, including fighting on the front lines, would henceforth be open to women. The issue of registering for the draft immediately surfaced.
This bill will undergo a reconciliation process with a House bill before going to President Obama's desk. There are differences of opinion among conservatives on this issue and, indeed, I'd imagine my colleagues at IWF do not all have the same position. Even proponents of women registering for the draft should worry that physical standards will be lowered to accommodate women.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska was trying to offer an alternative just days before yesterday's vote:
“Why are we now fighting about drafting our sisters and our mothers and our daughters into a draft that no one anywhere is telling us that they need?” Sasse said.
He described the debate as a partisan culture war and offered an amendment that would drop the draft expansion. In its place, the amendment would end draft registration three years from now unless Congress acted. The amendment also would require the defense secretary to consult military leaders and report back to Congress on the merits of the Selective Service System.
IWF put on a fascinating panel on women fighting on the front-lines earlier this spring, featuring a variety of opinions. If you are having a hard time making up your mind on this issue, the booklet on the event contains much to think about in deciding.