Sen. Josh Hawley vows to fight plan to make women register for military draft

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A key Republican senator is stepping up his campaign to block a sweeping revision of military draft laws that would require women for the first time ever to register for the military draft.

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said Monday he was introducing an amendment to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that would eliminate the requirement for women to register with the Selective Service System now tucked away in the massive annual Pentagon policy bill. 

“It is wrong to force our daughters, mothers, wives, and sisters to fight our wars,” Mr. Hawley said in a statement. 

In July, Mr. Hawley voted against requiring women to register for the draft when the issue came before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He acknowledged that women have played a vital role in defending America throughout the nation’s history.

“Our country is extremely grateful for the brave women who have volunteered to serve our country with and alongside our fighting forces,” he said. “But volunteering for military service is not the same as being forced into it, and no women should be compelled to do so.”

Requiring women to register for the draft does have bipartisan support, however, with supporters saying the time is right because all military jobs have been opened up to them.

The U.S. military draft was abolished in 1973, but U.S. males still are required to register with the government when they turn 18 should the draft ever be reintroduced. 

“It is my hope that we will always have an all-volunteer force. However, I believe women should sign up for Selective Service like their male counterparts,” Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican who led Army troops in Kuwait and Iraq before retiring as a lieutenant colonel, told the Des Moines Register in 2016. 

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