The Equal Rights Amendment Would Harm Women

The Equal Rights Amendment Would Harm Women
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The Equal Rights Amendment Would Harm Women
AP Photo/File
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During next year’s legislative session, Minnesota state lawmakers will once again be faced with the Equal Rights Amendment after efforts to put the issue on the ballot in 2020 passed in the House but failed in the Senate. This effort comes as ERA proponent Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is urging flailing feminists to come up with a new strategy as the campaign that began in 1972 again is floundering.

I hope she is right. As a female college student, I believe strongly that passing the Equal Rights Amendment would be a huge mistake and represent a step back for equality between the two sexes.

The original intent of the ERA may have been very noble; increasing equal opportunities for women is a great goal and, as a woman in college, I know that I have benefited from the work done by leaders on the issue of gender equality and laws such as Title IX.

Ironically, the suffragettes and other courageous women who led the fight for women’s equality were generally pro-life. They saw the killing of innocent preborn babies as a violation of human rights, both of the baby and of the mother. Further, they correctly saw abortion as a tool of abusive men and predicted that men would use abortion to exploit women.

But the Equal Rights Amendment is now about one thing: ensuring that Roe v. Wade can never be reversed. It promotes unfettered abortion, legal through all nine months of pregnancy and funded by taxpayers. As a pro-life woman, I know the ERA would hinder women by reducing gender equality to one issue. It would undo hundreds of legal benefits designed to protect and empower women through Social Security provisions and child-support laws. That’s decades of work from real, well-meaning feminists -- who were actually interested in the well-being of women -- gone. Not to mention, it’s wholly anti-feminist to claim that women can only be equal to men by renouncing our femininity, the capacity to bear children, and by focusing solely on climbing the corporate ladder.

Pro-choice groups know this amendment is all about abortion. That’s why groups like NARAL have fundraised for the ERA, and why groups like the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL are the biggest cheerleaders for it. Though much of the populace doesn’t even know that the ERA would enshrine the “right” to kill the preborn in the U.S. Constitution, the legislation uses an omnibus strategy to disguise this fact.

The NARAL website reads, “Ratifying the ERA would make it more difficult for anti-choice judges to uphold legal challenges to abortion rights by creating a precedent for equality between the sexes in the Constitution.” The National Organization for Women states on its website that the Equal Rights Amendment would help ensure equality in “reproductive health care,” which includes access to abortion.

The ERA would open Pandora’s box and allow for abortion to be inserted into our Constitution. A better approach is the one we’ve taken so far, one that keeps the system of checks and balances in place. This approach is targeted legislation, instead of some vague omnibus bill. Title IX, for example, ensures equal educational opportunities for men and women. It isn’t perfect, as the effects on some men’s sports have shown, but, as with many effective laws, it can be amended down the road.

A good law is one that is clear and easy to amend as situations change. Giving unelected judges the right to impose their own meaning of the ERA on America is a step away from democracy. This is what judges in other states, including New Mexico and Connecticut, have done, interpreting state-level Equal Rights Amendment language to force taxpayers to pay for abortions.

Women do not need the ERA, or abortion, to succeed. As a third-generation college woman, I fully appreciate the fight for women’s equality, but I do not believe that we must kill innocent preborn babies to achieve equality. A true feminist, one who believes in true equality, respects the rights of all human beings, preborn and born, and their inherent human dignity from the moment of conception until their natural death. The Equal Rights Amendment is not about equality. It is about abortion. And equality is not bought with the blood of our children.

Savanna Beaurline is the Minnesota state captain of Students for Life Action and president of University of Northwestern-St. Paul Students for Life.

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