Last night, on John Oliver’s show, “Last Week Tonight”, the comedian took on the Equal Rights Amendment to argue for its passage. *Shock*, Oliver got a lot wrong. Like most of his episodes, there’s a pinch of truth and then a pound of unrelated side jokes and offensive comments.
- ‘We need just one more state to pass the ERA’
We need 38 more states to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, since the deadline, as Oliver notes, has expired.
2.‘The ERA wouldn’t expand access to abortion’
Oliver correctly notes that Phyllis Schlafly argued that the ERA would be used to expand abortion, but he says that the ERA says no such thing and this argument doesn’t hold. But pro-choice groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood are explicitly pushing for the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified in order to enshrine abortion rights into the Constitution.
For example, a petition for NARAL states, “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. Without bodily autonomy, we are not fully free to participate in the workforce, fulfill our educational aspirations; or determine if, when, and how to begin or grow a family.”
.@iamjohnoliver Claimed last night on his show that the Equal Rights Amendment isn't a trojan horse for abortion. But, groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL are explicitly pushing for ratification BECAUSE of abortion.
— Students for Life (@StudentsforLife) June 10, 2019
An e-mail from NARAL’s chief lobbyist wrote, “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 abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate both the constitutional right to privacy and sexual equality.”
A tweet by Planned Parenthood calls on another state to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
So excited about this! The #ERA was first passed by Congress nearly 50 years ago and sent to the states for ratification. To this day, only 37 states have ratified it.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) March 27, 2019
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.”
In a joint op-ed, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, and Anne Schlafly Cori, daughter of Phyllis Schlafly and current president of the Eagle Forum, also pointed these problems out in The Federalist.
Do you want to learn more about the Equal Rights Amendment?
We have great resources at ExposeEra.org.
You can also watch and share this video from a press conference in Virginia, where legal scholars, political experts, and a coalition of pro-life leaders explore the problems with the Equal Rights Amendment.