The House Armed Services Committee has voted for a change to the National Defense Authorization Act which would require women to register for the draft. The amendment was approved by a 35-24 vote on September 1. The change had been supported by all committee members belonging to the Democratic Party, as well as many Republicans.

The New York Post said the entire House of Representatives was expected to vote on the matter before the end of this month. The newspaper noted that the Senate Armed Services Committee adopted a similar measure in July, but the entire Senate had yet to make a decision.

The proposal had been put forth in the House committee by Congresswoman and Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. MilitaryTimes.com quoted Houlahan as saying the law exempting women from the draft "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."

'We need everybody'

The law now required 18-year-old men to register for a possible future draft even though for the past 40 years the Selective Service had remained inactive. Houlahan's amendment had been supported by Congressman Michael Waltz, a Republican from Florida, and an Army veteran. He was quoted by MilitaryTimes.com and Politico as saying that if a future conflict was so bad that it required a draft, all young people would be needed in the military.

The news sites quoted him as saying "We need men, women, gay, straight, any religion, black, white, brown."

'Don't draft our daughters'

Under the Twitter hashtag #DontDraftOurDaughters, Congressman Chip Roy, a Republican from Texas, criticized Republicans and Democrats in Congress for supporting Houlahan's amendment. He told his colleagues "I do not trust you to do anything at all, much less say you will draft my daughter to 'non combat' roles.

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Why don’t I trust you?" Roy then cited areas, in which he said Congress had demonstrated poor judgement, such as Afghanistan and the Coronavirus. He concluded his series of nine Tweets by telling his opponents that they "can go straight to hell."

Opposition from Quakers

The move to include women in the draft is opposed by the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), an organization of historically pacifist Quakers.

“Broadening an immoral system to include women isn't a step towards equality. Abolish the draft entirely,” tweeted the FCNL on September 2.

MilitaryTimes.com recalled that the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to consider the constitutionality of the male-only draft in June 2021. The news site also noted that last year the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service had recommended that women no longer be exempt from registration for the draft.