By Karen Cross, Political Director
Editor’s note. This appeared in the May issue of National Right to Life News. Please share this—and any other stories you enjoy—with your pro-life family and friends. If you have any questions or comments, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
In their latest display of abortion advocacy, Senate Democrats forced a losing Senate vote on April 27 on a measure that they claimed would make effective the long-expired Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), despite its name, is not simply about treating men and women equally. According to its supporters, the end goal is establishing unlimited abortion for any reason throughout pregnancy and forcing all Americans to pay for abortions through their tax dollars.
Virtually every major pro-abortion organization and every major pro-ERA organization asserts that the 1972 ERA must be construed to invalidate direct or indirect limitations on abortion. NARAL Pro-Choice America says that “the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion . . . [it] would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws.”
In a March 9 article In Jezebel, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), prime author of an ERA-revival measure in the House of Representatives, said, “We need to use every tool at our disposal to protect and expand abortion access—one tool is the ERA.”
On the April 27 Senate showdown, every Senate Democrat supported the ERA-revival measure — once again demonstrated their support for a radical nationwide policy of unlimited abortion for any reason until birth. With this vote, they also signaled their support for tearing down existing federal and state-level protections for unborn children and their mothers.
National Right to Life has opposed the ERA for decades, recognizing that the ERA language proposed by the 1972 Congress could be construed to invalidate virtually all limitations on abortion and to require government funding of abortion, an intended effect that is now openly proclaimed by top Democrats and pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
In fact, according to pro-abortionSenateMajority Leader Chuck Schumer (D), “Recent events like the Supreme Court’s horrible Dobbs decision, uncertainty with critical care drugs like Mifepristone, and a slew of proposed state actions (on abortion)” were motivating factors behind the Senate ERA vote.
Why are we even talking about the 1972 ERA decades later in 2023? And why did Senate Democrats just vote for an ERA-revival measure?
One of the primary reasons is politics. Heading into the 2024 elections, Democrats are eager to portray pro-life Republicans as “anti-woman extremists.” Democrats and their allies in the media would like to spin a false narrative that pro-life Republicans oppose “equal rights.” In casting their opponents as “extreme,” Democrats aim to deflect attention from the extreme nature of their own position, which calls for unlimited abortions for any reason until birth and using tax dollars to pay for them.
However, Senate Democrats are the ones who are out of touch with public opinion. In fact, their abortion absolutism is out of step with a sizable portion of their own base. According to a Marist Poll conducted in January, only 32 percent of registered Democrats would allow abortions for any reason throughout pregnancy. Among Independents, that number drops to just 20%. Meanwhile, 49% of Democrats, 70% of Independents, and 93% of Republicans would allow abortion only in the first three months of pregnancy, in cases when the mother’s life is at risk, in cases of rape or incest, or under no circumstance.
In 2022, far too many pro-life Republicans tried to run and hide from the abortion issue, leaving a void that allowed their opponents to frame the debate, define their positions, and ultimately control the narrative. This misguided strategy (or lack of strategy) hurt pro-life candidates in several highly competitive Congressional and Senate races. In order to combat this and to offer pro-life candidates tools for navigating the abortion issue on the campaign trail, National Right to Life recently published a comprehensive resource entitled, “What Every Candidate Needs to Know about Abortion.” Check it out and share it if you know someone interested in running for office.
Pro-abortion Democrats must be called to account. Theyoppose giving parents the right to be notified before an abortion is performed on their minor daughter. They oppose conscience protections for healthcare professionals who courageously refuse to participate in abortions. Many have even cosponsored legislation that could effectively shutter thousands of pregnancy help centers for declining to promote or refer for abortions.
Pro-abortion Democrats also demonstrate their extremism when they deny basic scientific truths about human development like the fact that unborn babies have detectable heartbeats and brainwaves by six weeks gestation, the ability to kick and swim by seven weeks, the capacity to feel pain by fifteen weeks, and can enter REM sleep (dream) by seventeen weeks.
And perhaps most heartless of all, pro-abortion Democrats even oppose legislation to ensure infants who are born alive in the course of botched abortions are afforded the same degree of medical care as any other baby born at the samegestational age. That is the extreme position. And voters should take them to task for it.
Senate Democrats are eager to run ads, give speeches, and publish mailers touting their support for the ERA. But they are forgetting (or willfully ignoring) something. Nearly omitted from the ERA debate entirely is the fact that abortion annually takes the lives of thousands of unborn baby girls and harms an untold number of their mothers. Abortion is violence—not equality for women.
If Senate Democrats were truly committed to “equal rights,” they would support protections for mothers AND their children. They would see that unlimited abortion flies in the face of “equal rights” because it deprives another human being of his or her rights. After all, the most fundamental right endowed to every human being, regardless of sex, is the right to life itself.
Without the right to life, no other rights are possible.