After two female troops were recently killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul, congressional Democrats have struck a blow for equality of the sexes by arguing women should be eligible for the military draft.
According to The Hill, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan introduced an amendment that struck the adjective “male” from before the word “citizen” in the law that mandates who should register with selective service upon turning 18. Under the proposed change, the law would just say “citizen.”
“By reforming the Selective Service to be gender-neutral based registration, we draw on the talents of our entire nation in the time of a national emergency,” said Houlahan, according to The Hill.
“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, an Air Force veteran, also argued that the current system is unconstitutional.
The House Armed Services Committee voted 35-24 to implement the change. Four Republicans, including Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida, a former Army Green Beret, and Rep. Liz Cheney, joined Democrats in approving the shift.
The committee’s counterpart in the Senate had also approved forcing women to register for the Selective Service System.
Unlike Waltz and Cheney, traditional conservatives had argued against conscripting women.
Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton maintained on Twitter, “Our military has welcomed women for decades and are stronger for it. But America’s daughters shouldn’t be drafted against their will.
GOP Sen Josh Hawley of Missouri, also on Twitter, said, “Missourians feel strongly that compelling women to fight our wars is wrong and so do I.”
The federal government ended the military draft in 1973. In 2015, then-President Barack Obama opened all combat jobs to women.
The House and Senate votes must be reconciled later this fall as Congress debates the National Defense Authorization Act, the Pentagon’s primary spending bill.
In Afghanistan last month, Marine Corps Sgts. Johanny Rosario Pichardo and Nicole Gee were among the 13 U.S. troops killed in the terrorist attack by ISIS-K.
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