What’s it called when you erase women from the law under the guise of “equality for women”?
The Equal Rights Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in the early 70’s. It declared: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” But before the ERA could become an official amendment to the Constitution, it needed to be ratified (approved) by 38 states before the year 1982.
By the time the deadline rolled around, only 35 states had ratified—though since then, exactly 38 have ratified—three after the deadline. And on Thursday, February 13, the U.S. House of Representatives voted “yes” to remove the original 1982 deadline, passing H.J.Res.79 on to the Senate. Yet, whether or not Congress can remove the original deadline is still up for debate.
So, what’s the controversy and why are modern-day feminists and radical activists clamoring so loudly for the ERA to be passed now?
In the late 1970’s, after failed ERA efforts, women’s rights experienced a significant victory when the Supreme Court finally ruled the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause applied to women. Yet, ERA proponents of today argue the 14th Amendment isn’t enough. They claim that because the 14th Amendment uses the word “citizen” and not the word “sex” or “gender,”–and rightfully so—the 14th Amendment doesn’t allow men (who say they’re women) to be treated like women. It doesn’t allow these men into women’s bathrooms or allow boys to compete on girls’ sports teams. Nor does the 14th Amendment allow for the right to abortion to be encoded into our Constitution or require tax-payer funding for abortion.
But the ERA does and will.
The language of the ERA, at first glance sounds fairly reasonable. But, in fact, it prevents state and federal laws from making any distinctions based on sex (which can also mean gender). Yet, sex-based distinctions have been a result of a century-long battle for women to be acknowledged in law, and for their needs to be recognized as drastically different from men’s, especially at certain times and in certain places. These distinctions have allowed for women’s “only” scholarships and colleges, childbirth and pregnancy accommodations, spousal and child support, social security benefits, and so much more.
When sex distinctions are erased from the law, women and all the laws passed to protect their unique position in society are also erased. We’ve already seen these exact benefits being taken from women in states with state-level ERAs. In addition, courts in New Mexico and Connecticut have used their ERAs to rule that denying abortion to women was “sex-discrimination” because only women can have abortions.
From state cases, we can predict the devastating impact a federal ERA would have on women. It’s likely federal programs like WIC (Women Infants and Children Program) would be deemed unconstitutional, social security benefits for women based on spousal income would be removed, women could suddenly become eligible for the draft, and women’s federally funded shelters and prisons would have to allow men access. And most egregiously, it is highly likely to encode the right of abortion into the U.S. Constitution.
Yet, it is this fresh and radical spin on the interpretation of “women’s rights” that has captured the devotion of the radical left and why the House passed H.J.RES 79, which could be heard by the Senate. We must remain vigilant and prevent this grave injustice against women from passing. Reach out to your Senators today and ask them to oppose the ERA.
Standing for the family of believers,
Stephanie Curry, Esq.
This legislative session is really picking up—and Family Policy Alliance of Idaho® is working hard to make sure that the legislation getting passed will honor God, allow religious freedom to flourish, help families to thrive, and ensure life is cherished.
Here are three legislative updates that you should know about:
- “Choose Life” License Plates
We’re excited to tell you that legislation to create “Choose Life” specialty license plates (Senate Bill 1249) has passed the Senate Transportation Committee! Not only would these license plates spread a positive and hopeful message for life throughout the state, but their sale would also provide greatly needed financial resources to pregnancy resource centers as they minister to the health, financial, and spiritual needs of mother and preborn child alike.
Senator Regina Bayer (R-Meridian), the bill sponsor, is thankful for all your help in using our Action Center to ask the committee to pass the bill. Senate Bill 1249 now goes to the Senate for a full vote. We will keep you apprised of the progress of this important legislation as it makes its way through the legislative process.
- Fairness in Sports Act
Our allies at Alliance Defending Freedom have compiled a list reporting dozens of examples of men performing in girls’ and women’s sports events. Frustratingly, the list also includes several instances where the men have taken championship titles and broken records in girls’ and women’s sports events.
These cases illustrate the need for the Fairness in Sports Act. In this age of gender confusion, it is sadly necessary to protect girls’ school sports in Idaho. In the coming weeks we will let you know of ways you can get involved to protect athletic opportunities for our girls.
- Idaho Equal Rights Amendment
Rep. Melissa Wintrow (D-Boise) has introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Much like its federal counterpart, the Idaho ERA would amend the state constitution to do away with important sex distinctions that have been indispensable in protecting women.
If passed, the ERA would require government (meaning your tax dollars!) funding for abortion and overturn restrictions on abortion under the guise of protecting women from reproductive “discrimination.” It would also open sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, girls’ sports, and women’s shelters to men.
We don’t expect this effort to go anywhere in Idaho, but a showdown over the ERA is playing out on the federal level. Use our Action Center now to tell your U.S. congresspeople to oppose the ERA. It only takes a moment—and you can make a difference!
Keep an eye on these emails in the coming weeks. We will be sharing exciting news with you about the effort to pass legislation that protects life, parental rights, and family values. And please consider standing with Family Policy Alliance of Idaho through monthly financial support. Your partnership will help us keep advocating our shared values in Idaho!
Director of Advocacy
As we have commemorated the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade this week, and as thousands of pro-life Americans are March(ing) for Life in our nation’s capital today, one of the most anti-life proposals of a bygone era is having a second moment in the spotlight. The Equal Right Amendment (ERA), long thought to be defunct, is re-emerging with the support of activists who argue that now is the time to amend the U.S. Constitution to guarantee “equal rights” for women.
While the ERA promises legal equality among the sexes, it does away with important sex distinctions that have been indispensable in protecting women. The amendment language is simple: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” But Family Policy Alliance and many other pro-life organizations believe it will enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution and have other disastrous consequences for women and girls.
Although approved by Congress and sent to the states in 1972, only 35 of the needed 38 states ratified the amendment before it expired in 1982.
But that isn’t stopping Democrats from trying to resurrect the ERA. Nevada and Illinois ratified the amendment in recent years, and Virginia followed suit last week. With these three additions, the number of states that have ratified the ERA has now increased to the requisite 38, notwithstanding the 1982 deadline.
What is the future of the ERA? Well, that will be decided by Congress—and you, the engaged biblical citizens of this nation. Use our Action Center to tell your U.S. Representatives and Senators to oppose the ERA. It’s easy and only takes a minute of your time.
We’ve provided some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the ERA. Read below to learn more, but don’t forget to use our Action Center to contact your Representative and Senators. You can make a difference!
Q: Is the ERA necessary to protect women’s rights?
No. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution already prohibits government discrimination against women and guarantees equal rights for “all persons” regardless of sex. The ERA isn’t needed to protect women’s rights. In fact, if the amendment were ratified, it would endanger spaces designed to protect women’s privacy and dignity, such as restrooms, locker rooms and fitting rooms.
Looking back, the movement to adopt the ERA fell apart in the 1970s when Phyllis Schlafly, a constitutional lawyer and conservative activist, persuasively argued that women stood to lose far more than they would gain.
Think about the implications of prohibiting “discrimination” on the basis of sex. Sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms, and women’s shelters could all be opened to men. After all, wouldn’t it be “discrimination” to stop a man from using the female bathroom? Women’s and girls’ sports, too, would be threatened.
Many states have already opened women’s bathrooms and girls’ sports to biological males. The ERA would effectively require these policies nationwide and with a far greater reach than many would imagine.
Q: How would ratification of the ERA affect the pro-life victories achieved over the last several decades?
A: The ERA would enshrine government-funded abortion-on-demand in the Constitution. Restrictions on abortion would likely be overturned under the guise of protecting women from reproductive “discrimination,” which is impermissible under the ERA.
Moreover, several state and federal courts have already interpreted state ERAs as requiring government (meaning your tax dollars!) funding for abortion. A federal ERA would bring about the same result across the entire nation. That’s why some policy leaders have taken to calling the ERA the “Everything Related to Abortion” Amendment.
Q: The deadline for states to ratify ERA expired in 1982. Is it legally possible for the ERA to be revived?
A: Probably not. But Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to retroactively extend the deadline imposed by Congress when the amendment was sent to the states for ratification in 1972.
Most legal authorities—including the U.S. Justice Department and the National Archivist—have concluded that original cutoff date was final. If that’s not enough, it’s also worth noting that five of the 35 states that had ratified the amendment in the 1970s have since rescinded their support.
Because House Democrats are trying to sweep aside the lapsed deadline and ignore the efforts of five states to withdraw their ratification votes, it’s important that you contact your congresspeople and tell them to oppose the ERA. Use our Action Center to send an email to your Representative and Senators now.
For the family of believers,
Director of Advocacy, Family Policy Alliance of Idaho
Our friends at Nevada Family Alliance informed us today about a critical development late last night at the state capitol. We encourage you to take action this afternoon if you haven’t already – and then pass this along to others.
A new bill was dropped late last night by Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro under the cover of darkness with only four days left in the legislative session.
It is a state version of the federal Equal Rights Amendment that we have told you about recently.
SJR8, the Nevada State Equal Rights Amendment, will mean tax-funded abortions, loss of religious liberty and more:
- Harms to Women and Girls in Sports, Academics, Economic Opportunities, and Privacy
- Harms to Faith-Based Schools, Colleges, and Non-Profit Organizations
- Harms to Medical Rights of Conscience and Taxpayer Funding for Abortions
Please contact your state senator right away, as the measure is likely to be voted on this afternoon.
Here is a suggested message: Vote No on SJR8, the so-called State ERA, which will mean taxpayer-funded abortions and loss of religious liberty. It is wrong to bring this up at the last minute with no opportunity for citizens to respond! (Or write your own message.)
And here is a list of senators’ email addresses. Please contact your own senator and any or all of the others as well.
All Senate Democrats:
All Senate Republicans:
Thank you for making your voice heard on this urgent matter!
The Family Policy Alliance Team
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a simple answer for the dozens of new state pro-life laws that have been passed this year: the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
To that end, today the Equal Rights Amendment is getting its first congressional hearing in 36 years. That means that your member of Congress could be voting on it soon.
But this blast from the past remains the same blunt object attacking life and family values that it was back in the 70s and early 80s. In fact, given where our courts have gone in interpreting “equality” laws, it is even more dangerous now.
The Equal Rights Amendment would shatter pro-life laws
First, it would enshrine government-funded abortion on demand in the Constitution.
Many of the effects of the ERA are somewhat uncertain. However, its effect on abortion law is clear in a multitude of cases stemming from states that have ERAs. Under these state versions of the ERA, courts are finding no difference between abortions and medically necessary procedures sought by men, so states have been forced to pay for abortions under Medicaid.
Legal experts expect these state ERAs to also serve as a legal weapon to take down a host of other pro-life laws – from parental consent and notification laws to dismemberment bans to the pain-capable 20-week bans, and more.
It’s why some policy leaders have taken to calling the ERA the Everything Related to Abortion Act.
The Equal Rights Amendment would invade women’s privacy
But while the ERA would be a coup for Planned Parenthood, that’s not all it’s about.
In 1983 – the last time the ERA had a congressional hearing – the acronym LGBT didn’t even exist. While there was a small-but-growing push for homosexual rights, the T (for transgender rights) didn’t join the acronym until the 1990s.
In 2019, the transgender movement is all the rage in many cultural and legal circles. That makes today’s ERA even more dangerous than it was decades ago. Simply put, the ERA would place in the highest law of the land a limitless ban on sex discrimination – at a time when sex is increasingly being interpreted to mean “gender identity.”
The practical impact of this is that the ERA is likely to bring the transgender revolution to every corner of the country. In the name of protecting women, the ERA would likely open up women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers to anyone claiming to be a woman. However, it should be noted that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear a case (R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC) that could have a major impact in this area.
The Equal Rights Amendment threatens women’s insurance rates and sports participation
The ERA is a blunt object that will create other chaos as well, whether intended or unintended. For example, it could go so far as to end sex-segregated sports because they are technically “discriminating” on the basis of sex. At the least, it would likely further the growing problem of giving places on women’s teams to men who claim to be women.
It would also end the justified preferential rates that women receive from insurance companies.
And it would sweep away traditional differences of treatment “on account of sex” in such areas as marriage, divorce and alimony, child custody, adoptions, property laws and prison regulations. These are all areas in which states have historically made distinctions between men and women in order to better protect women and children.
The full impact of the ERA is unknown, calling to mind another famous Pelosi-ism: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
The ERA is on the move: What you can do
Today’s hearing on the ERA shows the determination of Speaker Pelosi to push it through, and it is likely that your member of Congress will have to make a decision on it soon.
The key to stopping its progress is information and action.
- Please share this information with others. The ERA has an innocuous name, but its real impact is unfamiliar to most people, especially since it has mostly been in the shadows for decades. The first key is to empower as many as possible with good information.
- Please send a message to your member of Congress, urging them to oppose the ERA. It’s quick and simple on our Action Center.
Thank you for making a difference.
The Family Policy Alliance Team
The more time I spend in the political world, the more I am convinced that some of the most dangerous legislation for Christian families, businesses, and churches is in “simple” bills. These are bills that may appear to be very good ideas on the surface, but they often have one huge issue that can cause a mountain of problems: vagueness.
A prime example is the federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The essential part of the ERA is one sentence: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” So what’s wrong with that? Don’t we all want equal rights for men and women? Of course we do.
The problem is actually with its simplicity and endless ways it can be interpreted. ERA language offers “equal rights”, which leaves a blank slate for courts to erase protections for women from the law and make-up rights out of thin air. That may sound extreme, but it has already been happening. A number of states have enacted their own ERAs and what have been some of the results of court interpretations?
- Husbands are no longer required to pay alimony in certain cases, because doing so places mothers and fathers in an “unequal position”.
- ERA states have found a constitutional right to abortion, arguing that to not provide abortions is sex-based discrimination.
- Courts have decided that “sex” should be interpreted to also mean gender. This means a man, who says he is a woman, will have the constitutional right to enter women’s bathrooms, play on women’s sports teams, gain admission into women’s clubs, and earn women’s scholarships.
You see the problem. Simple isn’t simple, or sometimes even good, when it has this much ambiguity. House Concurrent Resolution 3037, currently being considered by our legislature, would clarify that North Dakota’s 1975 ratification of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment is no longer valid (i.e., we no longer support the ERA). Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota supports and will again testify in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 3037 as it is considered in the Senate this week.
The ERA was proposed in 1972, that’s almost 50 years ago, a time when women dealt with obvious discrimination in various aspects of life. However, since that time, numerous federal laws have been passed ensuring equal protection and access for girls and women in school academics and athletics, juries, military service, family leave, protection against sexual harassment and domestic violence, and a host of other protections.
On a personal level, my wife and daughter have certainly benefited from all the anti-discrimination laws enacted over the past 50 years, and I’m very thankful for that. They have had equal job opportunities, equal academic opportunities, been protected from sexual harassment, and many more positives. However, this was without any ERA being in place! I would be the first to admit that there are areas of life where sex discrimination still exists, but the sweeping and ambiguous language in the proposed federal ERA is going to cause a significant undermining of pro-life and pro-family values as it is interpreted by activist courts.
Simple isn’t always simple when it comes to laws. Sometimes simple is actually bad, precisely because it is simple. The 50-year-old ERA is a solution looking for a problem, so please ask your Senator to vote “yes” on House Concurrent Resolution 3037 and let’s tell the federal government that North Dakotans don’t support this deeply flawed and harmful amendment.
While you will initially see contact info for our federal delegation presented, you can then click on the North Dakota tab to view your state officials’ emails and phone numbers.
President and Executive Director
You know you’re doing your job right when the Washington Post writes an attack article against you! Victoria Cobb is President of our allied state organization in Virginia, The Family Foundation. Victoria and The Family Foundation have been working tirelessly on behalf of pro-family Virginians to defeat what’s called the “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA).
As the Left becomes increasingly worried about the overturn of Roe v. Wade and advancing an LGBT agenda in our laws, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have resurrected a decades-old effort to amend the Constitution with the ERA. The ERA is an extremely dangerous effort to enshrine abortion-on-demand in the Constitution. And today’s ERA would also open the floodgates to creating a constitutional right for a man to identify as a woman—anytime, any place, and at any cost. This means women’s locker rooms, restrooms, prisons, scholarships, sports teams, and even shelters for victims of sexual assault would all be accessible to men—without question.
We are so incredibly proud of Victoria and her team—and their leadership on this issue! Their work advancing pro-family values in Virginia can now be felt across the nation. And the Washington Post is NOT happy about it.
Check out the full article in the Washington Post.