The Republican establishment hopefuls in the 2016 race want the government to make women sign up for the modern version of the emergency military draft.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeb Bush, and Gov. Chris Christie all offered support during Saturday night’s ABC News’ 2016 debate for a federal mandate that would force young women to register for the Selective Service System.
The Selective Service System was formed in 1917 and keeps a database on male U.S. citizens who are available for military conscription in some future emergency. Women are currently exempted, thanks to a 1981 Supreme Court decision that declared Congress’ men-only rule did not thwart the Fifth Amendment requirement of equal treatment.
President Barack Obama’s administration is now deliberating whether to direct women to sign up for the Selective Service, because of its progressive preference for gender-blind policies. The administration has already forced the military to assign willing and unwilling women to combat tasks, where they are required to carry heavy loads, to quickly recover from routine injuries and to be engage in direct combat.
Martha Raddatz, the debate moderator, asked the three establishment Republicans, “Should young women be required to sign up for selective service in case of a national emergency?”
“I support that,” Rubi responded. “Obviously, now that that is the case [that women can serve in more combat roles[. I do believe that selective service should be opened up for both men and for women in case a draft is ever instituted.”
Raddatz then turned to Bush and asked, “Do you believe that young women should sign up for selective service—be required to do so.”
“I do. I do,” he replied. “I think that we should not impose any kind of political agenda on the military. There should be—if women can meet the requirements, the minimum requirements, for combat service, they ought to have the right to do it, for sure,” Bush responded.
Gov. Chris Christie also weighed in. “There is no reason why one young woman should be discriminated against from registering for the selecting service,” he said. “The fact is we need to be a party and a people that makes sure that our women in this country understand anything they can dream, anything they want to aspire to, they can do. That’s the way we raised our daughters and that’s what we should aspire to as president for all the women in our country.”
Critics say requiring women to register for the selective service is a new form of government overreach. Moreover, skeptics warn that more women would potentially be forced into combat roles because of a political demand for gender equality, as the Pentagon is forced to prioritize progressive social policies over battlefield effectiveness.