At Issue: The ERA

On Thursday, July 19, 2018, Mary Kate Knorr, our executive director, was featured in a televised segment for At Issue with H Wayne Wilson, on the PBS network. In this segment, Mary Kate was joined by Elise Bouc, Chairman of Stop ERA Illinois, and Anne Schlafly Cori, Chairman of the Eagle Forum, to talk about the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) and why it should be opposed.

The Equal Rights Amendment is a federal proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Earlier this year, Illinois became the 37th state to pass the ERA. One more state must pass the amendment before it can be ratified into the U.S. Constitution.

To read more about the ERA, click here.

Proponents of this amendment keep pushing the talking point that it’s entirely about greater equality for women.

So why are these leaders (who happen to be all women) sounding the alarm against it?

Watch the segment right now, below, and hear what they have to say.

S31 E03: Opponents of Equal Rights Amendment Speak Out

When asked about the impact the ERA could have on abortion in our country, Mary Kate firmly replied,

“The abortion connection is absolutely real.”

She continued:

“There are state ERA’s that have very similar language that they’ve put into their state constitutions that have been used in cases to justify funding at the state level, of abortions, across the board [for example, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Connecticut].

This is not a hypothetical. This is something that has happened and that we know would have the potential to happen at the federal level.”

In addition to this point, Mary Kate also made the important remark regarding the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade:

“It’s an interesting moment for the ERA to come up right now, given the controversy with Roe v. Wade and the potential for that to be up for question, with President Trump’s new appointee to the Supreme Court.

The ERA would actually insert abortion rights into the Constitution which is not something that Roe v. Wade has successfully done. The ERA guarantees ‘equal rights’ which means to say, and what has been said in these cases, that to say that abortion is not covered at the state level but some other procedure might be [for example, prostate surgery, etc.], that’s ‘sex discrimination.’

That’s the argument that has been made. It’s been made by representatives of Planned Parenthood in legal cases, representatives of the ACLU, and it’s certainly something that could happen again at the federal level.”

When asked about the legal aspects of the ERA, Mary Kate explained:

“The thing that we really have to take a look at and the thing that people don’t understand is that the ERA is an ‘equal rights’ amendment. Like I said, in the Illinois state legislature, the argument they liked to make was that ‘We have this in Illinois. Our state constitution has an ERA.’

That is not true.

The Illinois state constitution has an EPA which is an ‘Equal Protection Amendment,’ and what that means is that it protects our rights under the law, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee the same rights under the law. And that’s really where the issue has been.

Earlier we had a conversation about the 14th Amendment and what that meant for equal protection under the law. There have been cases that women have been protected at the federal level under protection of the law, under the EPA.

So the argument here is really that this ERA is not necessary. It’s not legally necessary.

To read more about the dangers of the ERA, click here. In regards to the abortion connection and the life issue, the ERA:

  • Is an invitation to taxpayer funding of elective abortions, nationwide.
  • Has the potential to overturn the Hyde Amendment.
  • Supports abortion rights.
  • Opens the flood gates for abortion on demand.

Last spring, when Illinois passed the ERA, five state senators and 11 state representatives, who claimed to be pro-life, voted for the ERA. Their names are listed below. Each of these legislators subsequently received significantly downgraded ratings, by Illinois Right to Life Action, in their pro-life voter guide.

Senator Michael Connelly

Senator Karen McConnaughay

Senator John Curran,

Senator Sue Rezin

Senator Tom Rooney

Representative Steven Andersson

Representative Dan Brady

Representative Jim Durkin

Representative David Harris

Representative Chad Hays

Representative David Olsen

Representative Robert Pritchard

Representative Sue Scherer

Representative Grant Wehrli

Representative David Welter

Representative Christine Winger