By Dave Andrusko
As NRLC explained yesterday, House passage of a resolution Democrats said could resuscitate the long-expired 1972 Equal Rights Amendment “was the ERA’s poorest showing in 50 years.” Only 52% of the members voting supported the resolution—“62 votes below the two-thirds margin that the Constitution requires to perform grown-up constitutional amending, as opposed to today’s cheap political theater,” as Douglas D. Johnson, senior policy advisor to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), and director of its ERA Project, explained.
The comments made by opponents Wednesday remind us of a long-forgotten event: that the “ERA-abortion connection was responsible for the defeat of an ERA start-over attempt on the House floor on November 15, 1983.”
What follows is a sample of the many eloquent arguments made against the ERA “deadline removal” resolution sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Ca.).
Democrats continue to push through highly-partisan, divisive legislation absent all process and compromise. This unconstitutional resolution does nothing to advance equality. Instead, it is being used as a vehicle for far-left special interest groups and liberal activists to challenge state laws that respect the right to life and enshrine pro-abortion rights in the Constitution. The deadline for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment has long passed, and more than four decades later, Congress does not have the authority to simply extend it.
Speaker Pelosi’s resolution to remove the deadline for ratification of the ERA is not about equality or women’s rights. It’s about enshrining unrestricted abortion in the Constitution and allowing full taxpayer funding for abortion. That’s why I voted no. Now is not the time to weaken pro-life protections. Now is the time to defend the unborn and uphold the sanctity of life. Sadly, the new administration and the leadership in Congress are committed to a radical agenda that devalues life and denies the humanity of precious unborn babies. We should protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us – lift women up – strengthen families – and stand together for life.
Some lawmakers continue to ignore, trivialize, or deny the fact that abortion activists plan to aggressively use the Federal ERA—as they have used State ERAs—in a litigation strategy designed to overturn pro-life laws and policies, including restrictions supported by huge majorities of Americans. As the Marist Poll found recently in January: Seven in 10 Americans, including nearly half who identify as prochoice, want significant restrictions on abortions. While I fundamentally disagree with abortion activists who refuse to recognize an unborn child’s inherent dignity, worth and value, many on both sides now agree that how the ERA is written will be used in court to massively promote abortion.
Even the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the deadline for the ERA ratification had long passed. She said: ‘‘I would like to see a new beginning. I’d like it to start over. There’s too much controversy about latecomers—Virginia, long after the deadline passed. Plus, a number of states have withdrawn their ratification. So, if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard States that said, ‘‘We’ve changed our minds?’’’ If my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to ratify the ERA, they have to start over.
Just over a week ago, a Federal district court ruled that the deadline to ratify the ERA ‘‘expired long ago.’’ And the recent ratifications of the amendment arrived ‘‘too late to count.’’ Pretending we can remove the deadline for passage is both futile and deceptive. The ERA is a threat to the historical strides women have made. It will eradicate State and Federal prolife laws and policies, and the process is blatantly unconstitutional.
Finally, if ratified, the ERA would be used to codify the right to abortion, undoing pro-life protections, and forcing taxpayers to fund abortions. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that their State’s ERA provision required the state to fund abortions. Numerous pro-abortion groups have already made the case for ratifying the ERA on the basis of expanding their abortion agenda. …
With this unconstitutional bill, my colleagues across the aisle are hiding behind the rhetoric of equality for women to eliminate any and all protections for unborn babies, half of which would be girls, then women, if given the chance to live.