Female leaders and commentators are warning that the Equal Rights Amendment is a Trojan horse of left-wing ideological goals, masquerading under the banner of equal rights for women.
Lawmakers will hold a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 28, on how Congress can “enshrine equality in our constitution” through the ERA. Advocates of the amendment have praised it as an opportunity to “affirm women’s equality” and heralded the ERA as a “new tool” for the government to advance LGBTQ ideological interests.
“As the 28th Amendment, the ERA would serve as a new tool—for Congress, for federal agencies, and in the courts—to advance equality in the fields of workforce and pay, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, reproductive autonomy, and protections for LGBTQ+ individuals,” the office of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., said in a press release. “Enshrining this protection in our Constitution also ensures enduring protections for all Americans across the country.”
Conservative female leaders are sounding the alarm, however. Independent Women’s Forum senior policy analyst Inez Stepman shared with The Daily Signal that the ERA would make “the law intentionally blind to the biological differences between men and women.”
“We’ve already seen the consequences of that ideology in the transgender context: Women’s safety, privacy, and opportunities are put in jeopardy,” Stepman warned. “The ERA would expand these consequences by requiring that the law allow all males, not just those who ‘identify’ as women, access to single-sex spaces, competitive events, prisons, and programs.”
Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization, was founded specifically out of concerns about the ERA and its impact on women and the unborn, Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance told The Daily Signal on Wednesday.
Nance predicted that the ERA’s supporters would use it to constitutionalize both abortion and gender ideology.
“Today’s ERA would have the same damaging effect on women’s progress today that it [would have had] 40 years ago,” Nance said. “Women don’t need the ERA to make advances and achievements in every aspect of life.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser is the president of the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an organization devoted to protecting the unborn. She similarly emphasized that Democrats’ ERA push is “about enshrining abortion on demand until birth in the U.S. Constitution—the opposite of equal rights.”
“During past attempts, abortion advocates repeatedly rejected language to make the ERA abortion neutral,” she said. “Ever since it became clear that the Supreme Court might finally restore the right to protect unborn children to the people, they explicitly argue the ERA is necessary to block pro-life laws that could otherwise save more than 125,000 lives in the first year after Dobbs alone.”
“Numerous authorities confirm that the ERA deadline expired long ago and its proponents must start over,” Dannenfelser added. “Ignoring the process for amending the Constitution to install a ‘right’ to abortion is radical and would have enormous harmful consequences for the unborn and women.”
The ERA’s language, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex,” would erase all legal distinctions between men and women in the very name of eliminating discrimination, according to Emma Waters, research associate with The Heritage Foundation’s Devos Center for Life, Religion, and Family. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Removing the legal distinctions between men and women would allow men who identify as women to access women’s spaces, like locker rooms, prisons, bathrooms, or athletic teams, Waters said. Denying a man the ability to use these spaces would be considered a form of discrimination.
Why are Democrats reviving the ERA at this point in time? Waters suggests it is a response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
“If the ERA was ratified in the Constitution, it would provide a constitutional basis for abortion,” she explained. “Democrats argue that if a man has the right to not be pregnant, then women should also have the right to not be pregnant through abortion. This way, they could argue that the ERA ensures a constitutional right to abortion.”
Should Republicans choose to support the amendment, conservative organizations and their leaders will be paying attention.
Dannenfelser told The Daily Signal that Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America takes the matter “very seriously.”
“Votes will be reflected in members’ profiles on our Scorecard,” she promised.
Waters emphasized that Republicans who value the unborn, women’s sports, and the safety of women in private spaces “cannot support the ERA.”
“The ERA expired in 1982, over one and a half decades before Gen Z was born,” she said. “It’s an outdated talking point that would not provide any needed rights to women; it would only empower men and ideologically motivated actors to neglect, harm, or take advantage of women.”
“We’ve passed countless laws to protect the distinctions between men and women since the ERA was first introduced,” she added. “If we passed the ERA today, it would undo years of hard work. Conservative organizations across the nation are paying attention. Gen Z, in particular, is opposed to these outdated, anti-woman efforts and will hold Republican leaders accountable.”
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.