Looking back: Changes in the Selective Service System

This Throwback Thursday, Amelia Stevens ’23 examines the Selective Service System and how West High students’ opinions about it have changed.

Coming Soon

Published in the February 1, 1980 edition of West Side Story



Registration for the draft may soon be a reality if President Carter’s Proposal for registration is put into effect. In his Jan. 23 “State of the Union” address, Carter urged that registration for Selective Service be instituted for all 18 to 26-year old males. Involving females in the process is also under consideration.

In order to register women or actually induct men in the military service, new legislation will have to be passed in Congress. Yet, even with the usual wait for legislation, the growing international problems the nation is facing may make the draft closer than it has been since its abolishment in 1973.

Mary Hussey ‘81, “I don’t want to register; I don’t want to go into combat. But if men have to stake their lives women should too.”




Kim Moscrip ‘80, “People shouldn’t be forced to register if they’re morally opposed to war. For women it’s unfair, we don’t have equal rights in other areas.”



Teresa Cheng ‘82, “It doesn’t involve me right now. If I was in that situation I would be against it all the way.”


Chuck Hardy ‘80, “It’s probably necessary because of the situation with Russia. People are carrying it too far- it’s just registration, not the draft.”


Bernie Knorr ‘80, “Registration is one step towards the draft. It will be instituted depending on the world situation.”


Coming Soon 2020


The draft and Selective Service System has come under the limelight recently, after a World War III scare when the situation in Iran escalated earlier this month. The Selective Service System is basically registration for the draft. At the moment, there is no draft or plans for a draft. Currently, males have to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday, and females do not. However, a current lawsuit may change that. Last year, a men’s rights group sued the government, saying that women should also be drafted. The judge ruled in favor of the men’s rights group, saying that an all-male draft was unconstitutional. This lawsuit ruling has lead to an evaluation of the Selective Service System by a national commission. This commission is exploring the effects of the Selective Service System as well as if it should be continued and if it should include women. The final report will be out in March, less than two months from now. While the commission does not decide what the government will do, it does influence the government’s rulings and decisions. With the decision so close at hand, I asked students at West High now to see their opinions on the Selective Service System and by extension possibility of a draft, and how they differ from the opinions of West High Students from the 80s.

 “I don’t think that a draft is necessary, but if for some reason we did have the draft I don’t see a problem with drafting women as well,” said Davis Larson ’20.

“I think that people that are born in America should have to fight for their country type of thing. They should try to join the Army, if there’s a war coming to be prepared,” said Haleem Adams ’21.

“I feel like it should be people who are willing first instead of randomly chosen…I believe that women should be given the same rights, so I think it makes sense that women should be included,” said Erin Elizalde ’20.

“I think that no one should be drafted, they have families and they are living their lives. It shouldn’t suddenly be interrupted,” Divinity Myers ’22.

“Here’s my thing: if we’re going to be involved in a war that nobody wants, and there has to be a draft because nobody’s volunteering because nobody wants it, why is the war happening?” said Melissa Uc ’23

As it has become more acceptable for women to fight in combat roles in the military, it has become more acceptable for women to become part of the draft, and register with the Selective Service System. Additionally, it seems like the idea of a draft, is harder for people to accept now because there has not been a draft in a while and they do not want to be forced into something that they may not agree with.