|A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life||SPRING 2007 No. 63|
Equal Rights Amendment Would Secure Legal Abortion Against State Restrictions
By Phyllis Schlafly
EDITOR'S NOTE: Efforts to ratify an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution failed after a 10-year, state-by-state campaign of opposition led by RNC/Life's national chairman Phyllis Schlafly, president of Eagle Forum, and her articulate and well-informed supporters. The odds against beating the ERA were overwhelming at the time, with most state and federal officials in favor of it. But the truth about how the Amendment would affect family policy in the states, told over and over again in testimony before state legislatures, prevailed.
If ratified, the ERA would prevent states from prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions or restricting the practice of abortion in any way. It would prevent states from requiring that marriage licenses be issued only to one man and one woman. 18-year-old girls would have to register for Selective Service to be eligible for the draft. The ERA would sex-neutralize the family codes in every state so that they no longer would refer to man/woman, husband/wife, male/female, but instead to "persons." For instance, a marriage license today in every state but Massachusetts must be issued to a man and a woman. Under the ERA a license would be issued to two "persons."
Now, the ERA is back. It has been re-introduced in Congress and once again, it must be defeated. Phyllis Schlafly has reminded us of a 1977 book, Sex Bias in the U.S. Code, authored by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (who this year wrote the dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court decision in Gonzales vs. Carhart) in which she asserted that the ERA could result in the legalization of prostitution, a mandatory military draft for women, co-ed federal prisons and the disbandment of single-sex schools and organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
Please give the information in this report to your U.S. Senators and Member of Congress and to your state legislators. Copies of two fliers containing the facts about the ERA can be obtained by contacting Eagle Forum at (618) 462-5415 or at www.StopERA.com
The United States said NO to the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982. Don't take a chance on ERA mischief or on what activist judges can do to interpret ERA. Let ERA rest in peace.
Title IX, a federal law requiring schools and colleges not to discriminate "on the basis of sex," shows the mischief ERA will do. Feminist bureaucrats have used Title IX to punish men by forcing colleges and universities to abolish 171 wrestling teams (40% of the national total), plus hundreds of other men's teams in gymnastics, swimming, golf and football, many of them trophy-winning teams. ERA would also abolish the reasonable exceptions in Title IX which currently allow single-sex schools, fraternities, sororities, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
The majority of states voted against ERA: 15 states defeated ERA ratification (AL, AR, AZ, FL, GA, IL, LA, MO, MS, NC, NV, OK, SC, UT, VA); 5 states rescinded their ERA ratification (ID, KY, NE, SD, TN); and 6 states defeated ERA on a referendum for a State ERA (IA, NJ, NY, ME,VT, WI). Concepts such as "equality" and "fairness" cannot be advanced through dishonest procedures. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on October 4, 1982 that ERA is "moot," i.e., legally dead as of June 30, 1982. Some radical feminists are trying to claim they can get Congress to declare ERA part of the U.S. Constitution if three more states ratify it now (25 years after it died!). That would be both illegal and dishonest.
The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972. It was debated in state legislatures for ten years, 1972-1982, and died when its time limit set by Congress expired on June 30, 1982. ERA is a fraud because it pretends to benefit women and "put women in the Constitution." In 10 years of debate, ERA advocates were never able to show that it would give any benefit to women. ERA doesn't even mention women the word used in ERA is "sex." The United States Constitution is completely sex-neutral; it uses only sex-neutral words such as "we the people," "citizen," "person," "resident," "Senator," "Representative." ERA cannot benefit women in employment because our employment laws are already sex-neutral. Section 2 of ERA would transfer enormous areas of law from state legislatures to the Federal Government. This would include marriage, divorce, family property law, adoptions, abortions, alimony, some criminal laws, public and private schools, prison regulations, and insurance rates. The famous Watergate Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr., a recognized constitutional authority, said: "If this Equal Rights Amendment is adopted, it will virtually reduce the States of this Nation to meaningless zeroes on the Nation's map."
ERA would empower the federal courts to make all decisions as to the meaning of the words in ERA: "sex" and "equality of rights." Putting sex into the U.S. Constitution would activate the entire gay rights movement to go before activist judges and demand all kinds of "equality . . . on account of sex" to achieve goals that the gay movement cannot get legislatures to pass, such as same-sex marriages, allowing open homosexuals in the U.S. Armed Services and the Boy Scouts, and teaching homosexuality in sex-education curricula. The Hawaii supreme court ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is sex discrimination and unconstitutional under Hawaii's State ERA. Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (1993). Hawaii had to pass another constitutional amendment to overturn that decision.
ERA would require women to be equally assigned to all combat positions in the military (and to be drafted if Rep. Charles Rangel succeeds in his bill to reinstate the draft). "Combat" includes positions from which women are now excluded such as ground infantry and submarines. When we fight nasty wars against terrorists, we do not want social experimentation or judicial activism to interfere with readiness. Women perform nobly in many military positions but should not be forced into ground combat where they can be captured and abused by the enemy.
ERA would require taxpayer funding of abortions (which the majority of Americans oppose). We know this because New Mexico's state supreme court ruled on November 25, 1998 that its State ERA requires abortion funding. The court accepted the ERAers' reasoning that, since only women undergo abortions, the denial of taxpayer funding is "sex discrimination." N.M. Right to Choose/NARAL v. Johnson, 975 P.2d 841 (1998). See also the National Right to Life statements against ERA (March 2007).
ERA would legalize same-sex marriages.
ERA would invalidate the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), similar laws passed in 39 states, and state marriage amendments passed in 27 states.
ERA would make same-sex marriages a constitutional right based on the word "sex" in the amendment. Senator Sam Ervin Jr., the leading constitutional lawyer in the U.S. Senate until his retirement, stated in Raleigh, NC (2-22-77): "I don't know but one group of people in the United States the ERA would do any good for. That's homosexuals." Senator Ervin told the U.S. Senate that ERA's requirement to recognize same-sex marriages illustrates "the radical departures from our present system that the ERA will bring about in our society." He placed in the Congressional Record (3-22-72) similar testimony by top legal authorities Professor Paul Freund of the Harvard Law School and Professor James White of the Michigan Law School. This analysis is supported in the Yale Law Journal (2-73), and in the leading textbook on sex discrimination used in U.S. law schools, Sex Discrimination and the Law. The 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas proves we can't depend on the courts to protect us against gay litigation.
Don't Be Fooled about ERA!
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) whose radical feminist ideas are well known, was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 96-3 with one abstention. The three NAY votes were cast by Senators Jesse Helms (R-NC), Don Nickles (R-OK) and Bob Smith (R-NH). Yes, it is true, the rest of the Republicans voted to confirm the ultra-liberal Justice Ginsburg, who recently wrote the dissenting opinion in the case of Gonzales v. Carhart. She was joined in her dissent by Justices Stevens, Souter and Breyer. The case dealt with the federal ban on the partial-birth abortion technique which at long last was upheld by the Court majority with Justice Kennedy writing the Opinion of the Court.
Justice Ginsburg's commitment to the unfettered legal right to abortion on demand remains constant. Her radical feminist ideology and support of the Equal Rights Amendment is reflected in the following points to be found in her 1977 book, Sex Bias in the U.S. Code.
We've already had too much mischief from activist judges who think their word is law and that they can "evolve" the language of the Constitution to enforce their social and political agenda. ERA would give judges immense opportunity to do more damage.