Six Republican senators introduced a bill to repeal the military draft for women between 18 and 26 based on the high percentage of women who fail physical tests and end up injured, the New York Post reported.
The ‘don’t draft our daughters’ resolution was introduced on August 5 by Senator Mike Lee of Utah along with Republicans James Lankford, Steve Daines, Roger Wicker, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio in response to changes made to the draft, officially known as the Selective Service System, that was made official in the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate Armed Services Committee announced it had passed last Thursday, July 22.
Until now, only men between 18 and 26 were legally required to register with the Selective Service System. With the changes introduced, as of 2022, ‘all Americans’ in that age group will be required to do so. Failure to do so means losing access to federal financial aid programs for college education, among others.
According to a press release from Senator Mike Lee’s office, the arguments for opposing mandatory military service for women are that ‘injury rates in combat roles are significantly higher for women over men’ where ‘musculoskeletal injuries were twice as high for women as in men.’
“This policy change is rushed and unnecessary in our current time of peace, and unduly harms women more than advancing any notion of equality. While American women should be empowered to serve in our Armed Forces, they should not be forced to fight,” said Senator Lee.
In addition, the physical fitness required for combat is only attainable for a small percentage of women. The press release explains data from Army combat fitness tests show a failure rate ranging from 65% to 85% for women, compared to 10% to 30% for men.
“Women have heroically served in and alongside America’s fighting forces since our nation’s founding. It’s one thing to allow American women to choose this life, it’s quite another to force it upon our daughters, sisters, and wives,” said Sen. Hawley.
The debate to include women in the mandatory draft dates back to 2016 but has never made it past the House.
The draft, which has not been used since the war against Vietnam, primarily serves as a replacement for combat forces, and since 2015 that women can enter any position in the military voluntarily as long as they meet the physical requirements for those positions.
The U.S. military has more than 1.3 billion active troops, with about 900,000 in reserve. It is one of the most combat-tested armies in the world and has the most advanced technology.
Voices in favor
Ria Tabacco Mar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project, defended the measure, saying it otherwise creates a “serious burden on men that’s not being imposed on women.”
Not doing so, she added, sends a “tremendously harmful message that women are less fit than men to serve their country in this particular way and conversely that men are less fit than women to stay home as caregivers in the event of an armed conflict.”