(CNSNews.com) – Conservative leaders are opposing the position taken by top military commanders that all young women be required to register with the Selective Service System, with Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) summing up the mood of many on the Right: “I do not want to see my 15-year-old daughter drafted.”
In December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all combat positions without exception – including those in elite special forces units - would be open to women, and ordered all service chiefs to submit plans to implement the new policy by January 1.
Last week, top military brass told the Senate Armed Services Committee that all young women should also be required to register with Selective Service. “I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
But when CNSNews.com asked conservative leaders: “Do you support requiring all young American women to register for the draft?” the response was overwhelmingly negative.
"No. I do not want to see my 15-year-old daughter drafted into the military and every mother and father I've talked to in Utah feels the same," Sen. Lee told CNSNews.com.
”I do not support putting women into direct combat and I think including young women in draft registration is a terrible idea,” agreed Gary Bauer, president of American Values.
"Requiring women to register for Selective Service is unequal and unfair to women and certainly harmful to the military," Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), told CNSNews.com.
"Selective Service is a low-cost insurance policy to provide 'combat replacements' in the event of a national emergency. It is exactly the opposite of choice.
"Ordering women into the same combat environment on the same basis as men is not giving them an equal opportunity to survive," Donnelly pointed out. "The most recent research backs up that fact."
According to a special interim report released in December by CMR, a Marine Corps study found that “the assessment across all occupational specialties revealed that gender-integrated teams, squads, or crews demonstrated, with very few exceptions, degraded performance… directly related to the physiological differences between males and females.”
The Pentagon’s “plan to order women into direct ground combat units by January 2016 would needlessly harm military women, men in the combat arms, and the All-Volunteer Force on which national security depends,” the CMR report concluded.
Major Michael Berry, a former active duty Marine officer and JAG attorney who is currently director of military affairs at the Liberty Institute, told CNSNews.com that drafting women is a “dangerous” idea that “disregards the natural differences between men and women.”
“It also raises a lot of questions: Will women be allowed to be conscientious objectors because of their sincere religious belief that women should not be conscripted to fight wars?” Berry asked. “Will they conscript women who are pregnant or have young children?
“This is just another step towards removing constitutional protections that have existed since the time of our nation’s founders in the name of political correctness,” he added.
“We are quite firmly against women being required to register for selective service,” David Theroux, founder and president of the Independent Institute, told CNSNews.com. “This is just more inane, ‘progressive’ (i.e. authoritarian) involuntary servitude, all in the name of feminism.”
“We do not support women in combat, and therefore also do not support registration for the draft,” Charles Orndoff, administrative vice president of Americans for Constitutional Liberty, formerly known as the Conservative Caucus, told CNSNews.com.
Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, echoed other conservatives in his opposition to requiring women to register for the draft: “I do not believe women should be forced to register for the draft or for any service. We should not force women into military service,” Staver told CNSNews.com.
“I do not support the requirement [for women to register for the draft] in any sense since I do not believe that God created women to be part of the military or in any way involved in combat or defense of a nation,” said Judie Brown, president of the American Life League.
The issue of drafting women was raised during last Saturday’s Republican debate in New Hampshire.
”Americans do not want the government to send our daughters into battle against their will, and it is frankly shocking that any Republican candidate for president would not oppose the suggestion in the strongest terms,” Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin (US Army-Ret.), executive vice president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement following the debate.
“Some of the presidential candidates appear to be espousing the politically correct position that women should be required to register with Selective Service. In supporting this draft registration policy, these candidates demonstrate a serious misunderstanding of the imperative for combat effectiveness and of the American people,” Boykin added.
“When women feel called to serve in the military, we fully support them as long as they meet all necessary standards," said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, in a statement after the debate. "The most important thing is combat readiness. Our military's only job is to protect our nation. There should be no gender norming of standards to serve.
"It is very different to suggest that women should ever be forced to serve in combat roles or become part of a mandatory draft to combat service. Feminism cares more for political correctness than it does for women,” Nance stated.
However, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) did not rule out the idea of drafting women.
When CNSNews.com asked her if she supported the recommendation that all young American women be required to register with Selective Service, she replied: "It's an important question. I don't know what the answer is, but it's time to have the discussion. The all -volunteer military is a cornerstone of our strength, and we cannot afford to put that in peril.
"At the same time, if you are going to open all elements of military service to women, it is hard to justify not including them in selective service,” Blackburn said.