Ernst favors selective service registration for women

Joni Ernst and Rand Paul -- photo by Adam Burke
Joni Ernst and Rand Paul — photo by Adam Burke

Sen. Joni Ernst, (R-Iowa) revealed this week that she would support selective service registration for women. She said she hoped there would never be a need for the draft again in the U.S.

Her comments came after the House Armed Services Committee voted to include women for registration.

Ernst is the first female veteran to serve as a U.S. Senator. She retired from service after 23 years, in 2015. She was a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard is currently a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

In related news, a bill co-sponsored by Ernst and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) is designed to help victims of sexual assault in the military who face retaliation. The bill further penalizes professional retaliation, expands the collection and publication of data on retaliation complaints, requires specific training for investigators of retaliation against accusers and ensures the notification of victims regarding the final decision in retaliation complaints.

The bill would also establish a metric to measure the military’s record in preventing and responding to retaliation for sexual assault reporting.

According to a Rand Corporation survey, over half of active-duty women reported that they had experienced social or professional retaliation after reporting sexual assault.

“What, of course, we would all like to do is eliminate sexual assault, period, in our armed forces,” Ernst said.

The Rand survey said that 22 percent of women and seven percent of men in active duty experienced sexual assault while serving.

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