08:30 GMT29 November 2020
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    A plan to force women to register for a military draft has been cut from the annual defense authorization bill, after Republican lawmakers rallied hard against it.

    Conservatives lobbying against the provision argued that women are not always as strong or tough as men — and that it blurred the lines between genders.

    Liberal women’s rights groups argued that women should be treated equally, including when it comes to the draft.

    The controversial proposal to require women to sign up with the Selective Service System had just barely passed through the House Armed Services Committee and narrowly squeaked through a Senate panel.

    “Under current law, men ages 18 to 26 are required to register for possible involuntary military service with the Selective Service System,” the Military Times explains. “Women have been exempt, and past legal challenges have pointed to combat restrictions placed on their military service as a reason for their exclusion.”

    Those restrictions were removed by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter earlier this year, when he opened up combat positions to women.

    Now, the final draft of the bill is calling for a review of the entire Selective Service System — to decide whether it is even still relevant and necessary. The draft has not been used for involuntary military service since 1973.

    The current version of the bill has also removed a measure that would undermine protections against discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

    The updated bill is expected to be voted on by Congress in the coming days.


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    Selective Service System, Defense Authorization Bill, House Armed Services Committee, US Military, Ashton Carter
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