The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Community News Network

January 28, 2013

Slate's Explainer: Would women get drafted?

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last week that women would be allowed to serve in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of jobs to female soldiers. Readers are wondering: Now that women can officially take to the battlefield alongside men, do they have to register for the Selective Service?

Not just yet. When President Jimmy Carter renewed the Selective Service in 1980 in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Congress decided not to require women to register, in part because women could not serve in combat. Legislators also feared public outrage over ordering women to sign up for a potential draft, a move that would have been unprecedented in U.S. history. (One of the most effective arguments against the Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970s was the possibility that it would force women into the draft and military combat.) A group of men sued the government over the decision, arguing that the move violated the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Although the challengers won in a lower court, the Supreme Court ultimately sided with the government in a 6-3 vote.

Neither Congress nor the administration has announced plans to open the Selective Service to women since last week's historic announcement, but there's a good chance that could change in the near future. The Supreme Court's decision in 1981 was based largely on the exclusion of women from combat. If Congress doesn't open the draft database to women in the near future, the Supreme Court might force its hand, deciding that there's no legal basis for distinguishing between men and women anymore.

Long before America contemplated sending women into battle, Congress considered drafting them. During World War II, the military automatically discharged any member of the Army Nurse Corps who married, leading to a shortage of nurses. In 1945, the House passed the Nurses Selective Service Act, which would have required the registration of young women with nursing credentials. President Roosevelt pushed the idea in his State of the Union speech, but, with the war nearing its end, the Senate decided the historic move was no longer necessary.

Canada established its own National Selective Service Women's Division during World War II, although it wasn't equivalent to a draft. The agency was merely a resource to help match willing female workers with open industrial jobs in the country's growing cities.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • 25801486.jpg VIDEO: Northern California bus crash kills 10

    At least nine people died in Northern California on Thursday night, in an accident involving a bus, a car and FedEx truck. The bus was filled with high school students from Southern California who were on their way to visit a college campus.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content