The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in September, which included a provision that would require women to sign up for the military draft.
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), who introduced the draft amendment, explained her rationale by saying, “women have constantly had to fight for a level playing field — and this change is a step in the right direction.”
Although the United States requires men aged 18 to 26 to register for the draft, no one has been drafted for military service since 1973. Congress mandated registration for the draft in 1980. One year later, the Supreme Court held that women could not register for the draft because they were not eligible for combat roles within the military.
However, combat roles became open to women in 2015. This change in military policy was not reflected in the Selective Service System as women are currently not required to register.
A majority of Americans disapprove of mandating draft registration for women. An Ipsos poll found that 45 percent of Americans favor enrolling women in the draft.
Although there is no popular support for this proposition, many Democrat politicians still support the idea.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told Axios, “so much of the trajectory for women in the armed services is based on what experience they're able to accrue, particularly combat experience.” “It makes sense to that me that everyone should be eligible for Selective Service,” she added.
Many Republicans are opposed to the Democrats' effort to require women to register for the draft. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is leading a Senate amendment that would strip the draft provision from the NDAA. Close to a dozen Republican senators have aided Hawley's efforts for various reasons, such as women's safety or national security implications.
Senate Republicans opposed to the idea find themselves aligned with unusual allies from the far-left wing of the Democrat Party. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) voted against the 2022 NDAA when it came before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) spoke out against the idea on Twitter, saying, “Our military has welcomed women for decades and are stronger for it, but America's daughters shouldn't be drafted against their will.”
The Senate is currently considering the 2022 NDAA, with a decision on the draft provision expected to come before Congress goes into recess on December 11.