ERA Talking Points

By March 19, 2021YWA
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The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) proposes that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and that “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

      • The ERA may sound good, but in reality, it would erase the legal distinction between men and women, deny female dignity, and leave women unprotected.
      • Women are already equal under U.S. law. Women’s “equality of rights under the law” is already recognized in the 14th Amendment.
      • Through established law such as Title IX, Equal Opportunity Act of 1963, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and Equal Pay Act, women have made huge strides against institutional discrimination in education, employment, sports, politics, and many other aspects of society.
      • By adding an equality amendment based on “sex,” the ERA could have a reverse effect on women’s progress.
      • Under the ERA, legal gains, programs, and policy reforms that are aimed at benefiting women could potentially be declared unconstitutional, such as
        • Provisions in the Violence Against Women Act
        • Programs such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
        • Special protections in marriage, divorce, alimony, and child custody
        • Accommodations for pregnant women in the workforce
        • Spousal social security benefits
        • Female protections on college campuses relating to safety
        • Title IX scholarships and admissions
      • The ERA could also be a tool to promote abortion [1] by enabling courts to rule that any restrictions on abortion would “perpetuate gender inequality.” [2]
      • The ERA would allow federal courts and legislative powers to reinterpret every law making a distinction based on sex or gender. This means that
        • Any limits on abortion or denying taxpayer-funded abortions would be seen as sex discrimination.
        • Women-only safe spaces like sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, or domestic violence shelters could be seen as a form of sex discrimination.
        • A woman could potentially be forced into military services against her will.
      • Erasing the legal distinction between men and women denies female dignity and leaves women unprotected. In order to support and uphold the rights, dignity, and opportunities of women, we must oppose the ERA.

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[1] NARAL Pro-Choice America. (n.d.). ERA Y-E-S. Retrieved from https://www.prochoiceamerica.org/campaign/era_yes/

[2] Image of national email alert from NARAL Pro-Choice America, March 13, 2019, asserting that “the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion . . . [it] would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws . . .”. (2019, April 1). Retrieved from https://www.nrlc.org/federal/era/image-of-national-email-alertfrom-naral-pro-choice-america-march-13-2019-national-alert-asserting-that-the-era-would-reinforce-theconstitutional-right-to-abortion-it-would-require-judg/


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