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
  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • President Barack Obama mug Best president? Worst president? Don't read too much into those polls

    The questions about who are the best and worst post-WWII presidents are useless. What they mainly show is that Republicans are far more unified around a single story than are Democrats.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • lawgrad.jpg Things looking up for law school grads

    This might sound weird, but here goes: Now might be a pretty good time to think about law school. For the sixth year running, the employment rate fell, as schools produced a record number of graduates for an industry without the room for them. There was, however, a nugget of good news buried in the data.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140625-AMX-HEALTH-EXERCISE252.jpg Fitness program caters to people with developmental disabilities

    Spirit - which stands for "Social Physical Interactive Respectful Inclusive Teamwork" - offers classes that help clients with developmental disabilities build muscle, increase flexibility and improve their diets. As a population, they have limited opportunities when it comes to health, Smith says. "And a lot need more social interaction," he adds.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • twitter.jpg Mobile web siphoning revenue from U.S. cities as landlines fade

    Tweeting, Facebooking, Skyping smartphone users are costing U.S. states and cities revenue as taxes rooted in old-fashioned telephone service fail to keep up with the Internet era.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 10.42.53 AM.png VIDEO: Police say thief forgets to log off Facebook while robbing home

    A Minnesota man was jailed after he logged on to Facebook from a home he broke into, then forgot to log out.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • breaking-up.jpg Thinking about breaking up? Flip a coin

    In their latest book, 'Think Like a Freak," Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner suggest that, contrary to what many people have told you in life, you should quit. That is, when things get tough, you shouldn't always tough them out and stick with it. Instead, you should quit and do so sooner rather than later.

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

Graduation Salutes
Seasonal Content