Rep. Lesko: ERA 'Would Be Used by Pro-Abortion Groups to Undo Pro-Life Laws'

By Susan Jones | February 13, 2020 | 10:15am EST
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) (File Photo by ANNA MONEYMAKER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) (File Photo by ANNA MONEYMAKER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The House of Representatives on Thursday debated a resolution that would remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which simply 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.”

But Republicans argue the amendment has nothing to do with equal rights: it's all about protecting abortion.

During the floor debate, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) argued that the ERA is "not necessary" since women’s equality of rights under the law is already recognized in the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

And she had another major objection:

If ratified, the ERA would be used by pro-abortion groups to undo pro-life legislation and lead to more abortions and taxpayer funding of abortions. But don't take my word for it. Let's look at what pro-abortion groups have done and what they say:

In 1998, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state's ERA required the state to fund abortions. NARAL Pro-Choice America which supports abortions, asserted that the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion and require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws. In a 2019 letter to the House Judiciary Committee, the ACLU stated the Equal Rights Amendment could provide an additional layer of protection against restrictions on abortion.

In conclusion, this bill is unconstitutional; the ERA is unnecessary since constitutional federal, state and local laws already guarantee equal protections; and the ERA, if ratified, would be used by pro-abortion groups to undo pro-life laws.

Congress passed the proposed constitutional amendment in 1972, but it wasn't until Democrats took control of the Virginia Legislature this year that the ERA received the required support of three-quarters of the states.

However, the 1972 congressional resolution contained a seven-year deadline, later extended to 1982, for getting the necessary 38 states to ratify the amendment.

Meanwhile, five states have "unratified" the amendment in the intervening years.

On Thursday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) noted that the deadline imposed by Congress was not part of the actual amendment but was contained in the resolution passing the amendment. "If Congress can set a deadline, it can remove a deadline," Nadler said.

But ranking member of the Judiciary Committee Doug Collins (R-Ga.) said the current resolution is an "end-run" to get around the fact that the ERA's ratification deadline has come and gone.

The chief sponsor of the resolution removing the deadline for ERA ratification is Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), who told her colleagues on Thursday that "women are fed up."

"I rise today because the women of America are done being second class citizens. We are done being paid less for our work; done being violated with impunity; done being discriminated against for our pregnancies; done being discriminated against simply because we are women,” Speier said.

"The ERA is about equality. The ERA is about sisterhood, motherhood, survival, dignity, and respect."

Speier said the "outrage" expressed by The Women's March, the Me-Too Movement, and the Pink Wave "is because we have been disrespected, devalued and diminished in our society. And we are fed up."



 

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