Shea Garrison, vice president of international affairs at Concerned Women for America (CWA), observed, “The idea of an ‘equal rights’ amendment sounds great for women who want equality and ‘empowerment.’ However, the ERA, as it is written, does not secure equal rights for women. Rather, it puts us at risk to lose the gains we’ve made in the past 50 years. Here’s why: It says ‘equality of rights … shall not be denied … on account of sex.’ So, it is true that restricting access to abortion could be seen as discrimination against women since abortion is only applicable to women. But it also could work the other way — a man could say any law or special policies on child care, marriage, alimony, etc., put in place to specifically protect women is discrimination against him. Private women-only spaces like sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, or domestic violence shelters could also be seen as a form of sex discrimination or violation of this amendment.”
“The bottom line,” Garrison explained, “is that this is bad policy that will hurt women, not give us equal rights. Women are already equal citizens under the law of the United States, and we will continue to use established law such as Amendment 14, Title IX, or the Equal Opportunity Act of 1963, etc., to wipe out any inequalities that we still may face.”
Calling the ERA “a war on women,” Concerned Women for America adds that this misguided amendment — if it were ever to be revived and passed — would:
- Wipe out all ability to use any laws using “sex” as a defining characteristic, therefore overturning workplace and family laws that protect women.
- Overturn privacy laws that define who may use men’s and women’s bathrooms and locker rooms.
- Attack religious-freedom laws in situations where faith-based groups recognize distinctions between the sexes, such as in women-only domestic violence shelters run by faith-based organizations.
- Be used to write abortion rights into our U.S. Constitution with the rationale that restricting access to abortion is a form of gender discrimination (since it singles out women for a physical trait unique to them).
- Affect Social Security, Medicare benefits, health-insurance benefits and more.