Women don’t have to sign up for the draft

The current law does not require women to enroll in selective service, if there is a bill, but a Senate proposal could change that.

America hasn’t had a draft for decades, but military-age men are still required to register for Selective Service, meaning they could be drafted if there was a draft. Women have not historically been required to register, but there have been proposals to change this.

A VERIFY viewer saw a TikTok claiming such a proposal had become law.

“Ladies, when you turn 18 you must register for the draft now,” the TikTok user said in a recent video.

VERIFY reader Fallon T. sent the TikTok to the team and asked, “Do women between the ages of 18 and 25 have to enter the draft?”

THE QUESTION

Do women have to register for the draft?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

That's wrong.

No, women do not have to enter for the draft.

WHAT WE FOUND

Most men ages 18 to 25 living in the US are required to register with the Selective Service, which means they could be drafted if there was military service. That hasn’t happened since the conflict in Vietnam in the early 1970s, meaning registration was essentially a formality for several decades.

If a draft were required again in the future, men would be called under the Selective Service System based on a random lottery number and their year of birth.

Women have never had to enter for the draft and still do not today. But there are some proposals aimed at changing that.

The bill mentioned in the TikTok sent to VERIFY was House Resolution 4350, the US House of Representatives’ 2022 version of an annual military budget bill called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While this bill proposed “to extend selective service registration to women,” it never passed the Senate and did not become law.

Congress passes a version of the NDAA each year to change military policy and outline how funds will be spent.

The Senate version of the NDAA became law in 2022 and did not require women to enroll in selective service.

But the proposal is back on the table in the 2023 Senate version of the NDAA, which the law text would “require the registration of women for selective service.” Senator Jack Reed (DR.I.) is the sponsor of the bill.

“The provision also adapts selective service to ‘meet the diverse mobilization needs of the Department of Defense’ – and expands selective service to support a broad spectrum of national security roles, rather than merely providing combat replacements as is now intended.” . It also specifies that this is to be used in ‘times of war,'” a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) spokesman told VERIFY.

The provision requiring women to register for selective service is included only in the Senate version of the NDAA 2023, not the version proposed by the House of Representatives, a spokesman said. The House passed its version on July 14, 2022.

The Senate NDAA has not yet been debated or voted on by the full Senate. It would ultimately “need to be merged with the House bill to produce a final bill — which must make a decision on whether or not to include this language,” the spokesman said.

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Alley Einstein

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