The U.S. Congress and a few state legislatures are holding staged hearings on the failed Equal Rights Amendment, also known as the ERA. If you’ve never heard of it before, don’t feel too bad. Like disco music, long lines at gas stations, Jimmy Carter, and leisure suits, the ERA is a relic from the 1970s and most of us would rather forget it. Almost no one wants to return to that era, or to resurrect the long-buried ERA.
But a few dinosaurs never got over their defeat, and a few newbies do not understand why ERA lost. The House Judiciary Committee held a one-sided hearing to reintroduce this amendment even though no one actually believes it has a chance of garnering a 2/3rds super-majority in either house of Congress that it needs. This hearing wasn’t about the votes. It was about creating a media spectacle with Hollywood stars and feminists of days long gone by. The new ERA they introduced was just the bullhorn that they used to talk about their issues.
Apparently someone noticed that the original ERA lacked the word “women.” This time around, their ERA begins with a specific reference to women along with its original phrase “on account of sex.” Whether the word “women” actually appears in the text or not, it would do nothing to actually help the women of this nation. As Phyllis Schlafly pointed out in defeating it, ERA would actually have harmed women in many, many ways, including forcing them to register for the military draft just like men. The new wording is silent about transgenders and sexual orientation, but pro-ERA witnesses at the House hearing declared the ERA’s language would apply to them too.
Whether LGBT is protected by ERA is one thing, but there is no reasonable doubt of one group who will not be protected by ERA. The unborn will be put in greater danger than ever before. The leading organizations supporting ERA like the National Organization for Women and NARAL are saying the Equal Rights Amendment will eliminate all restrictions on abortion. Let’s do our part to make sure ERA goes the way of bell-bottom pants and send it back to the 1970s where it belongs.