Hawley picture

In this file photo from Aug. 4, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., alongside other Senate Republicans, speaks to members of the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hawley has proposed an amendment that would prevent women from being required to register for the draft. 

Sen. Josh Hawley has sponsored an amendment that would prevent women from being required to register for the Selective Service System.

Next year’s defense spending authorization bill would require both men and women to register for the draft if the legislation passes as currently written.

Hawley, R-Mo., told News-Press NOW he doesn’t want to abolish the Selective Service, just to continue its current requirement that only men register.

“I’m in favor of keeping the Selective Service, but I’m not in favor of forcing women to fight against their will,” Hawley said. “I do think there’s something about when it comes to national service ... If you’re an able-bodied young man ... you should be willing to take up arms and fight for this country.”

Changes to the Selective Service System, including registering both men and women, are attached to the National Defense Authorization Act. That’s a law Congress must pass annually to ensure the military is funded.

According to the Selective Service System’s website, women are currently not required to register because Congress wrote the initial law only to include men.

In the Selective Service System’s latest report to Congress, the agency said 92% of those required to register did so. Under current law, men aged 18 to 25 are required to register.

In 2019, the latest data available, Missouri had more than 292,000 men register.

“I think it’s crazy (to have women register),” Hawley said. “And I think it really is part of the Democrats’ ongoing social agenda, so my bill would simply restore the status quo.”

Matt Hoffmann is a our lead investigative reporter. He can be reached at matt.hoffmann@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NpNowHoffmann.

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