Teen's Fight to Overturn Girls' Ban From Draft Is Well-Intentioned But Wrong

Women play an important part in all branches of the military, but there's still one thing they aren't allowed to do: get drafted. It's a controversial ban that has long been in place, but now one bold teenage girl from New Jersey is working to overturn the law that excludes girls from registering for the draft.

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The United States hasn't had a draft since 1973, but men are still required to register to be drafted through the Selective Service System as soon as they turn 18. Elizabeth Kyle-LaBell, a recent high school graduate, decided it was unfair for only men to register, so she attempted to sign up herself. As soon as she entered her sex, her registration was denied.

Kyle-LaBell says banning women from the draft is discrimination and a violation of her civil rights, and she intends to sue the Selective Service System. Her ultimate goal is to overturn a 1981 Supreme Court decision that upheld the men-only rule for the draft. She said she wants the draft to be gender-neutral, adding, "If women are allowed to fight in a war, we should be allowed to sign up for the draft."

It's admirable to see her speaking out, and her ultimate goal of equality is a good one, but I'd rather see her working toward a different solution. At first blush, having men and women both sign up for the draft might seem equal, but could we not also accomplish equality through doing away with the draft entirely? 

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Everyone should have to shoulder equal rights and responsibilities, and women are more than capable of being excellent soldiers. They can serve on the front lines as well as any man, but that doesn't mean we need to expand the draft. If anything, I'd much rather see us do away with the idea of forcing anyone to serve in the military -- male or female.

Using your voice to fight for equality is a good thing, and it's wonderful to see a 17-year-old girl assert her beliefs with so much confidence. I just think her goal could be accomplished a better way. Make it voluntary for everyone. Give everyone equal choice. Don't extend a bad policy to include women, but instead make it better for both men and women. Equality doesn't have to mean we all share the short end of the stick.

Do you think women should have to sign up for the draft?


Image via Sean Locke Photography/shutterstock

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