(4-minute read) WILL BE CHAMPIONED BY ABORTION ADVOCATES AND TRANSGENDERED
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, introduced of Senate Resolution 6, which would reopen consideration of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Thirty-seven states have already ratified the amendment, which was first proposed in 1972. Only one more state is needed.
The Cardin-Murkowski resolution would lift the ratification deadline to revive consideration of the ERA by the states.
The measure is exceedingly controversial and the timing is pointed: It will become an abortion issue and a major election issue going into the 2020 presidential election year, also the year that Sen. Dan Sullivan is up for re-election.
Critics say that proponents are falsely positing that America is a reflection of a “Handmaid’s Tale” dystopian world where women are nothing more than breeding machines.
They also point out that women who are pregnant do have limitations on where they should work: Toxic waste dumps, combat missions, and even piloting commercial jets can harm the baby. And there are reasons why women and men have their own professional wrestling circuits.
Other critics warn that the ERA is no longer about women at all, but is clearly moved into a new angle: It’s about abortion rights and extending special rights to LGBTQ — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.
In other words, critics warn, the ERA will be not interpreted on behalf of women, but on behalf of other Americans who want to ensure that the way they express themselves doesn’t interfere with jobs, housing, or use of bathrooms and locker rooms of another gender.
Murkowski and Cardin don’t recognize these issues — which will become litigated endlessly — in her public announcement.
“Nearly 100 years after women fought for and earned the right to vote, most Americans are shocked to realize that the U.S. Constitution does not already guarantee women the same rights and protections as men. It’s long past time for us to correct this injustice and recognize the equality of women under the law.,” said Senator Cardin. “What better way to set a positive tone for a new Congress than to take clear steps to fix a long-standing slight to America’s women. I’m proud to work with Senator Murkowski to move this essential legislation over the finish line.”
“In order for the ERA to be incorporated into the Constitution, we need 38 states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. As of now, we have 37. The bipartisan legislation I’m leading, alongside Senator Cardin, will resolve any ambiguity over whether states can make the ERA effective by ratifying. We cannot and must not put a time limit on the fight for women’s equality,” Senator Murkowski said.
The Equal Rights Amendment wording states:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
“The Equal Rights Amendment is as important in the fight for women’s equality as it was on April 5, 1972, when Alaska ratified,” said Murkowski. “Women’s equality is fundamental to the American way of life and needs to be expressly recognized in the Constitution.”
ABORTION FRIENDS AND FOES WILL WEIGH IN
But the measure reflects a logic that could lead to a constitutional basis for abortion rights, and could result in overturning the federal partial birth abortion ban, third trimester abortions, and parental notification of minors seeking abortions.
It could interfere with religious beliefs of nurses, doctors and hospitals who do not facilitate abortions.
It could threaten tax exemptions of private religious schools that do not believe abortion is moral and that discourage it when teaching students.
The passage of the ERA could lead to Medicaid funding for abortions. Since men have procedures exclusive to them that are funded by Medicaid, including circumcision and prostatectomies, abortions would be subject to the same logic: They are unique to women and related to reproductive functions.
Pro-abortion groups have submitted legal briefs in support of the ERA for this reason, including Planned Parenthood, NARAL, the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Congress granted an extension to ratification of the ERA back in 1982. The amendment failed because it did not receive enough state support during the time extension. Time simply ran out.
But Murkowski and Cardin think they have a workaround.
Their resolution would “immediately remove the ratification deadline and revive the consideration of the ERA by the states, finally guaranteeing full and equal protections to women in the Constitution. Article V of the Constitution contains no time limits for ratification of amendments, and the states finally ratified the Twenty-Seventh Amendment in 1992 regarding Congressional pay raises more than 200 years after Congress proposed it in 1789 as part of the original Bill of Rights. The ERA time limit was contained in a joint resolution, not the actual text of the amendment, and Congress has already once voted to extend the ERA ratification deadline,” they wrote in a joint press release.