Ratifying the ERA would make it more difficult for anti-choice judges to uphold legal challenges to abortion rights by creating a precedent for equality between the sexes in the Constitution. Those aren’t my words. That’s straight from the NARAL, Prochoice America website – one of the country’s most prominent pro-abortion groups, admitting that the Equal Rights Amendment would likely strip out most commonsense regulations on abortion, and lead to taxpayer funding of abortion.
Readers of an August 14 Arizona Capitol Times news report weren’t privy to that, or other critical information on the issue. They weren’t privy to any information counter to pro-abortion, pro-ERA voices.
The article stemmed from the historic anniversary marking the right to vote for women in America, and Arizona’s commendable eight-year jump on the rest of the country. But the report was almost entirely about Arizona’s failure to take “the next logical” step by passing the ERA. There is much evidence to contrast the claims of pro-ERA state legislators quoted in the article.
Sen. Kate Brophy-McGee, R-Phoenix, couldn’t understand why those opposed to the ERA “tied it to abortion.” And Sen. Victoria Steele, D-Tucson, called the connection “emotional” and “crazy,” even denying “any rational evidence to support” the claim.
But, one need only to hear from top abortion supporters in the nation to find plenty of rational evidence to support what pro-life advocates fear, and what pro-abortion activists already know to be true: Under the ERA, regulations on abortion can be seen as sex discrimination because only women get abortions, and only women are denied taxpayer funding of such procedures. I didn’t come up with that. Abortion proponents did.
Planned Parenthood argues Pennsylvania’s ERA requires taxpayer funding of abortion because men receive comprehensive coverage without restriction, but the abortion coverage prohibition in the state’s Medicaid program “improperly discriminates against women based on their sex.”
These are not the hypothetical, “emotional” and “crazy” ramblings of opposition. These are the well thought-out strategies of abortion providers looking for any way to enshrine abortion into the U.S. Constitution. Yes, enshrine. That, too, comes straight from NARAL’s website.
The abortion organization even used the abortion-ERA connection in a fundraising email writing, “In order to protect our reproductive freedom today it’s essential we pass the newly re-introduced bill to ratify the ERA. With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to an abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate the constitutional right to privacy and sexual equality.”
The National Organization for Women also sees the connection, stating, “An ERA – properly interpreted – could negate the hundreds of laws that have been passed restricting access to abortion care and contraception. Denial of legal and appropriate medical care for women – and only women – is sex discrimination.”
The American Civil Liberties Union recognizes the same opportunity, calling the ERA a tool against “erosion of reproductive freedom” (aka abortion).
The Associated Press confirmed the pro-abortion agenda, quoting legal counsel for National Women’s Law Center, Emily Martin, saying, “Martin affirmed that abortion access is a key issue for many ERA supporters; she said adding the amendment to the Constitution would enable courts to rule that restrictions on abortion ‘perpetuate gender inequality.’”
Another recent article quoted the acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood on the subject, stating, “There are no equal rights for women without access to abortion, plain and simple.”
The Arizona Capitol Times article pining for the ERA could have quoted NARAL, NOW, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, or the NWLC for the truth behind the recent push to pass an out-dated and unnecessary amendment. It’s not about equal rights for women. Even the ACLU admits we have that in the 14th Amendment. It’s about abortion, plain and simple. The largest pro-abortion organizations in the country know that – and so do local politicians fighting for its passage.
But, a majority of Americans, including Arizonans, support at least some restrictions on abortion, which might explain why ERA supporters brush-off those sounding the alarm – even while their cohorts use the same argument to raise funds and garner support from abortion allies.
Cathi Herrod is president of Center for Arizona Policy.