Equal Rights Amendment Deceives

A statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod

If today’s proposed Equal Rights Amendment (SCR 1006) protected women, and established justice and equality for women, I would stand in strong support of the ERA. But it does none of that. Proponents can call it whatever they want, it has nothing to do with equal rights for women.

It is about abortion. ERA proponents argue it is about equal pay and discrimination. However, the ERA is all about enshrining the right to an abortion in the U.S. Constitution, because any restriction on abortion would amount to a form of illegal sex discrimination.

New Mexico and Connecticut have used their state ERAs to strike down restrictions on abortion. Earlier this year, Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit using Pennsylvania’s ERA to challenge the state’s prohibition on state funding of elective abortion.

There are more reasons to oppose this deceitful amendment, starting with the fact that it is unnecessary.

In 2019, we are a far cry from where we were in 1972 when the ERA was first introduced. Here in Arizona, we have two female U.S. senators, many female legislators, a Secretary of State, a State Treasurer, a Superintendent of Public Instruction, several former governors, justices, CEOs, and university presidents – all women.

We also have the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and countless federal, state, and local statutes that already prohibit discrimination against women. The ERA would add zero to that protection.

But what the ERA will do is conflate equality with sameness, erasing any distinction between men and women. In doing so, it would transfer extensive new powers to the federal government. Where states traditionally regulate areas like marriage, property laws, divorce and alimony, child custody, adoptions, abortion, sex crimes, private and public schools, prison regulations, insurance and more, this power now would be transferred to the federal government.

By erasing all distinction between men and women, the ERA would also put women and children at risk. The amendment could demand all public locker rooms, restrooms, showers, domestic violence shelters, nursing homes, and prisons to be open to both men and women. This subjects the vulnerable to abusers who would exploit the law to access victims.

Moreover, the deadline for ERA expired in 1982. Any move to revive it would have to start from scratch. Supreme Court precedent stands in stark contrast to proponents’ wishful thinking that the deadline can be overlooked.

The ERA does nothing proponents claim. It is a deceitful attempt to push an unpopular agenda.

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