Senator Jill Vogel has betrayed her pro-life friends and supporters by voting in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). She has supported and voted for pro-life legislation in the past and as early as a few days ago and I thank her for that, but she has undercut her own votes by her support of the ERA.
Since the early 1970’s when the first unsuccessful efforts were made to pass the ERA, there have been vast changes in our laws to protect women and guarantee their rights under the U.S. Constitution. One need only to look around to see how women are now able to excel in any area they choose. When these rights are violated, they can and should be settled in a court of law. The ERA is not about equal rights anymore because the law already protects women in employment, education, seeking elected office, achieving leadership positions, and many other areas.
So why the big push for the passage of the ERA now after all this time and the massive gains women have made without the ERA? The answer is abortion. It is interesting to note that during the debate on the ERA in the 1980’s, abortion advocates rejected proposed abortion neutral language. The proposed article read, “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant, secure, or deny any right relating to abortion or the funding thereof.” They rejected it because they wanted to use the ERA as a tool to further their agenda to provide abortion on demand and taxpayer funded abortions. One can’t say, “Well, that was back then.” Recently, leading pro-abortion groups (NARAL, ACLU, Planned Parenthood) have utilized the ERA, where the language has been adopted into state constitutions, as a tool to challenge any laws that treat abortion differently from other “medical procedures,” including laws restricting tax-payer funding of abortions, third-trimester or partial-birth abortion bans, and laws requiring parental consent for minors’ abortions. New Mexico is one example where pro-abortion groups’ arguments succeeded and the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously ruled, on the sole basis of its state ERA, that denial of taxpayer funding for abortions is “sex discrimination” thereby requiring taxpayer funded abortions.
There will be other negative consequences of the ERA which seem very plausible considering today’s political and cultural climate. There will be potential privacy and fairness concerns if sex-integration is required for prisons, athletic competitions, schools and locker rooms/restrooms. We’ve already seen the push on some of these issues and it is easy to see how the ERA will be sued to legitimize them.
I don’t understand how Senator Vogel can support pro-life laws and fail to see the insidious results that will come about from the passage of the ERA.
Angela Steele is a resident of Winchester.