Editor’s note. Last week, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a measure which (as NRLC explained) “purported to reanimate the Equal Rights Amendment approved by the 92nd Congress in 1972. ”There were brilliant voices speaking against H.J. Res. 79. We will repost two rebuttals a day all this week.
In Part One, we reposted the remarks of Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ). In Part Two, we repost the remarks of Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).
Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I rise today to commend the women who have gone before us to celebrate the achievements that women have made and to reaffirm the fact that we are equal in the eyes of God and in law.
Women make up 51 percent of the population, comprise over half of the college students, make up most of today’s medical and law school students and own the majority of new businesses.
Women are not victims in need of validation. Little girls can be whatever they want to be, whether that be an astronaut, a doctor, a full-time mom working at home, or a member of Congress.
In addition, Federal law and court precedent uphold our rights. That is something to applaud, and I do. However, today’s legislation is problematic on several fronts.
First, the resolution is unconstitutional. The time limit to pass the ERA expired decades ago. Congress can’t go back and remove a deadline from a previous constitutional amendment initiative. The Supreme Court has recognized that the 1972 ERA expired, and the Department of Justice issued a ruling saying Congress may not revive a proposed amendment after a deadline for its ratification has expired. Pretending that we can remove the time limits for passage is both futile and deceptive.
Secondly, if the time limit could be extended, the ERA would not bring women any more rights than they currently have right now, but it would entrench the legality of abortion. We know this from court precedent by listening to those who have the most to gain from constitutionally protecting abortion on demand.
In 1998, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the equal rights amendment in their State constitution requires State funding of abortions. Federal courts are likely to do the same. Perhaps that is why every proabortion organization is endorsing passage of the ERA.
NARAL Pro-Choice America says, ‘‘With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion.’’
The National Organization for Women says, ‘‘An ERA—properly interpreted—could negate the hundreds of laws that have passed restricting access to abortion. . . . ‘’
But that is not the only concern with passing this resolution. Besides being unconstitutional and shredding State and Federal pro-life protections, the ERA would also erase decades of progress which have provided opportunities for women, advance women’s progress through Federal programs, and secure necessary protections for women and girls.
How? By incorporating gender identity in the definition of sex, jeopardizing private spaces for women, girls’ sports programs, and women’s educational institutions.
The ERA endangers laws, programs, and funding designed to benefit women providing a pathway for legal challenges to welfare programs, grants for battered women’s shelters, efforts to bolster women participating in STEM programs, as well as State laws governing child support, alimony, and custody. These outcomes are anything but pro women.
Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ‘‘no.’’