States like Virginia, which is under fire for trying to legalize infanticide, are also considering legislation to revive the Equal Rights Amendment, which should really be called the Equal Access to Abortion Act, because it would force states to pay for abortions and could force doctors and nurses to commit abortions, like the legislation just signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York.
But the Pro-Life Generation is fighting back. Capital Area Regional Coordinator Stephanie Schmitt has been working with pro-life Virginia students as well as other pro-life and pro-family groups to fight back against the Equal Rights Amendment. Several weeks ago, Schmitt organized students to call in to their elected representatives in Virginia and oppose the Equal Rights Amendment.
At Christendom College, we were able to collect over 200 signatures against the Equal Rights Amendment in just a few hours!
On Friday, January 25, Schmitt and a group of students also traveled to Richmond to speak out against the Equal Rights Amendment. The bill is still pending, and Schmitt and Students for Life will continue to speak out against the legislation.
The Equal Rights Amendment is dangerous for several reasons, which can be read at studentsforlife.org/era.
Our analysis of the legislation found:
Abortion is not found in the U.S. Constitution, but this would provide constitutional cover for abortion, and in fact, similar language has been used at the state level to justify taxpayer-funded abortion.
The Equal Rights Amendment, which would prohibit sex discrimination the way the Constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, religion and national origin, could do just that. The ERA would provide the framework for an equality argument: Women’s equality necessarily requires reproductive and bodily autonomy, and without control over our bodies, women cannot participate as full and equal citizens in this country.
The text of the ERA itself doesn’t itself mention abortion. It reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” A right to abortion based on an Equal Rights Amendment wouldn’t be about the abortion procedure itself. It would be about women’s ability to live equally as full citizens under the law.
Several state equal rights amendments have already interpreted this way, and could point the way forward. In 1986, the Connecticut Superior Court struck down an abortion restriction using state’s ERA, ruling that “discrimination against pregnancy by not funding abortion when it is medically necessary and when all other medical expenses are paid by the state for both men and women is sex oriented discrimination.” In 1998, New Mexico’s high court ruled that a policy to restrict funding for medically necessary abortions violated New Mexico’s Equal Rights Amendment “because it result[ed] in a program that does not apply the same standard of medical necessity to both men and women.”