The ERA opponents view 'equality" as an abortion issue
Those of us of a certain age clearly remember "America's Sweetheart," the ultra-conservative Phyllis Schlafly, leading the anti-Equal Rights movement in the 1970s and warning that if the Equal Right Amendment were successfully ratified by 38 states, men and women would have to use the same bathrooms, women would be drafted into combat duty, and gay marriage would be legalized.
Dreadful possibilities to many citizens back in the 1970s--and being argued all over again in 2020. In fact, there will be a House vote in a few days to remove the deadline for ratifying the ERA. But this time around, anti-equality folks are making abortion the key issue--claiming that passing the ERA will force states to fund abortion.
We all know what a hot-button issue that is! Which is probably why conservatives are trying to link the two issues together--it would guarantee the defeat of ERA!
Here are some of the current pro and con arguments.
"Though the bill is expected to pass the House, it has little to no chance of winning support from the GOP-controlled Senate or President Donald Trump. The real fight will likely take place in federal courts — but the battle for public opinion is already in full swing, and influential and well-funded anti-abortion groups and their allies in Congress don’t want to take any chances.
“Everyone knows this renewed effort isn’t about women’s rights,” the office of House Republican Whip Steve Scalise said. . . . “It’s about eliminating federal and state life protections and ushering in an era of taxpayer funding of abortion.”
Conservatives argue that because only women can have abortions, any restrictions on the procedure could be deemed unconstitutional under the ERA. . . . ERA proponents, in turn, accuse conservatives of harping on the abortion issue because most of the dire consequences they predicted in the 1970s have already come to pass.
“A lot of the arguments that they had in opposition against the ERA are no longer relevant,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a lead sponsor of the House bill and author of a separate bill that would propose a new ERA. “One of them is that we would have co-ed bathrooms. Wake up. Have you been on a plane? Have you been in a private home? And women are already in the military, on the front lines, they're admirals, they're generals. As for gay rights — gay rights have passed. So that is no longer an issue."
Advocates for the ERA acknowledge that abortion needs to be part of the conversation. Any debate over women’s rights, they say, must also address control over when and whether to have children.
[. . .]
But supporters say conservatives’ focus on the issue is little more than political cover for blocking women from gaining equality under the law. By homing in on abortion, they contend, opponents are merely pursuing a socially palatable way of opposing gender equality.
“They’re not going to get up and say, ‘I’m a masochist,’” Jessica Neuwirth, co-president and co-founder of the ERA Coalition. “They have to find some smokescreen.”
It will be interesting to see how today's politicians will handle the controversial issue of gender equality.
To me, the wonder is that gender equality would even be considered a controversial issue!