Precisely forty-two years ago, in 1978, Beverly LaHaye held the first Concerned Women for America (CWA) meeting in San Diego, California, to educate women about the threats presented by the so-called Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). More than 1,200 attended. It was the beginning of what would become the largest public policy organization for women in the nation.
CWA went on to have a resounding victory against the ERA both in the culture and the courtroom. But, believe it or not, some radical feminists never got over that resounding loss. They are still trying to revive the old, putrefied ERA corpse to this day.
CWA continues to stand in their way.
Just last week, we filed a brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia standing against illegal efforts to bypass precedent and keep the effort to pass the ERA alive. The brief, filed by Michael Farris, who was legal counsel for CWA back when we defeated the ERA the first time, and who is now the CEO and General Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, explains to the court why the efforts to revive this effort violates the constitutional process.
Simply put, the ERA’s ratification deadline has come and gone. The effort is legally dead. The U.S. Congress gave the states seven years to ratify it, and they failed in that effort decades ago. To pass the ERA, they would need to start the process all over again.
Even the radically liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has acknowledged as much, saying at a Georgetown Law School event that the effort to revive it comes “long after the deadline passed” and needs to start over. “I would like to see a new beginning,” she told the moderator Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge M. Margaret McKeown, “I’d like it to start over.”
In our brief, we argue ERA activists themselves have acknowledged that their time has expired in numerous public statements. But now they seek to circumvent the constitutional process and revive the effort. Even their efforts to “remove the deadline,” acknowledge as much:
The Alice Paul Institute admits that “the ERA did not succeed in getting [sufficient] ratifications before the deadline.” The Feminist Majority Foundation explains that Congress must either “rescind the arbitrary timeline on ERA ratification … [or] pass the ERA again.” Likewise, the League of Women Voters of the United States currently urges its followers to “Tell Congress to remove the deadline so the ERA can cross the finish line!” … On its website, Equality Now tells supporters they “now must urge Senators to pass S.J. Res. 6, another joint resolution to eliminate the deadline. It is more important than ever to urge Senators to eliminate the original deadline!”
The ERA was bad policy then and is still bad policy today. It is why the American people rejected it. Feminists seek to use it to force their radical pro-abortion policies on the country, like finally getting our tax dollars to pay for abortions up to the moment of birth. Big abortion businesses like NARAL and Planned Parenthood have long argued that ERAs at the state level guarantee a right to taxpayer-funded abortions.
The president of the National Organization for Women argued, “The ERA would codify reproductive rights in the Constitution and greatly support low-income women who are the first to lose access to affordable birth control when family planning services are reduced.”
And today we know the ERA would be even worse for women, given the monumental fight in which we are engaged in an effort to protect women sports. Proponents of the ERA want to redefined the word “sex” in federal law opening the door for men who identify as women to hijack women’s rights, safety, and protections.
CWA is currently fighting in courts and legislatures around the country for the right of women in women’s shelter to prevent males from coming into their spaces, a development that could further aggravate the emotional and psychological pain of women who have suffered domestic abuse, rape, and even trafficking in some cases.
The bottom line is that the ERA continues to be a disaster for women and CWA is, once again, leading the fight against it to preserve the intrinsic and unique value of every woman. We won back then. And we will do so again.