Blog Post

Time to Take a Stand Against the Equal Rights Amendment

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

The results of the 2019 elections, which flipped the Virginia legislature from pro-life to pro-abortion, is posing an even bigger threat to the lives of women and their unborn children. This state could now be the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which could make access to abortion a constitutional right.

According to The New York Times, the ERA, which was initially proposed by Congress in 1972 stated: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

As simple as it sounds, this amendment would have grave implications for women. While it will protect against unjust discrimination, it will do so in a way far more radical than what most women have in mind because it would invalidate all laws, regulations and government policies that favor women in any way or treat males and females separately. This means an end to single-sex anything – from locker rooms and bathrooms to women’s shelters and prisons.

Even worse, "the ERA would unfortunately transfer most power over family law from the states to the federal government,” writes Andrew Schlafly, the son of the anti-ERA superstar-lawyer, Phyllis Schlafly, who is credited for defeating the ERA three decades ago. “Do we want Congress passing laws about alimony, child custody, and visitation rights? No, we do not.”

Most women I know who have suffered through the agony of divorce are not in the least bit interested in losing their alimony, child support, custody and/or visitation rights. The ERA, as currently proposed, would strip away all of these guarantees and leave these rights at the mercy of state legislatures.

While pro-ERA women think this Amendment will guarantee them absolute equality, they're being played by progressives in the usual way, through hyperpole and double-speak, in order to prevent them from reading the fine print.

For example, as Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life explains, the reason why this old and defeated amendment is being revived today by radical feminists can be summed up in one word – abortion.

Even though the word is not mentioned in the Amendment, it effectively eliminates all existing legal distinctions based on sex. Because any sex-based distinction in a law would become unconstitutional under the ERA, a law banning abortion clearly makes a sex-based distinction because only women become pregnant.

This is why Father Pavone calls the federal ERA as written the most pro-abortion legislation ever adopted by any American legislature.

“Cloaked in language of equality, it would, in fact, remove all state and federal regulations and safeguards regarding abortion. . . Do you favor parental notification before a 13-year-old girl has an abortion? Do you believe that partial-birth abortion, which amounts to infanticide, should remain illegal? Do you think that it’s wrong to force Americans to pay for others’ abortions? If so, you cannot support the ERA. These restrictions, overwhelmingly supported by the American public, would be deemed discriminatory on the basis of sex under the ERA.”

Even more horrifying is the fact that the ERA would enshrine unrestricted abortion in the U.S. Constitution. In other words, as Father Pavone points out, the law signed by NY Governor Cuomo allowing abortions - child killing - up until birth would become the mandatory policy of all 50 states, and conscience clauses protecting doctors and nurses from performing abortions would be eliminated under the ‘strict scrutiny’ requirements of the 1972 federal ERA. Passage would also overturn the Hyde Amendment which protects the U.S. taxpayer from having to fund abortions.

“It’s no coincidence that every organization that supports abortion in the United States also supports ratification of the ERA," Father points out. "They know what this deceptive amendment will accomplish – the end of any democratically enacted restriction or regulation of abortion.”

The scary part about this story is that the ERA failed to be ratified before a 1982 deadline because it was three states short of the necessary 38. In 2017, Nevada ratified it, following by Illinois, which brings the total to 37. The Commonwealth of Virginia tried to pass it to become the 38th state to ratify it, but a Republican controlled legislature defeated it.

However, Tuesday’s election has given the Amendment new life in Virginia where pro-abortion legislators have already promised to take it up when the new legislature convenes in January. When it passes, it will achieve the 38-state threshold.

Does that mean it will become part of our Constitution? Not quite. Because the 1982 deadline was written into the preamble of the Amendment, legal scholars believe it's “dead” and legislators would have to start over and propose a new Amendment. But that's not stopping progressives on the Hill. Particularly threatening is the appointment of pro-ERA Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to the Chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee who has already promised to hold hearings on this irregular three-state ERA ratification process.

For this reason, Robert Marshall, former member of the Virginia General Assembly and author of Reclaiming the Republic: How Christians and other Conservatives Can Win Back America, says it’s time for every pro-life American to mobilize against the ERA.

“Every pro-life American should contact their two U.S. Senators and Congressman today (and those newly elected to Congress on November 6) to oppose this illegitimate, duplicitous, and unconstitutional three-state ERA ratification process.

“Church bulletins should alert members of their congregations to increase citizen contact with legislators to make them aware of the grave threat the ERA poses to the lives of unborn children.

“Further, if you live in one of the following states that have not ratified the ERA – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, or Virginia – please contact your state legislators to oppose any three-state ERA ratification maneuver.”

In addition, pro-life Americans should contact their elected officials in Illinois and Nevada to ask them to rescind their bogus ERA ratifications which were made long after the deadline.

“A three-state ERA ratification process is a revolutionary act on the part of progressives to graft the legal authority for the killing of unborn children into our Constitution. It will set back the cause of life for decades. Inaction or silence in the face of this threat is unacceptable,” Marshall writes.

“Act today: the lives of children and the future of Judeo-Christian institutions in America hang in the balance.”

Click here to contact your representatives.

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