October 18, 2018

Advocating for the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, a recent letter to the editor noted that in the 1970s, “Phyllis Schlafly led a bogus, fear based campaign against ratification, predicting that terrible things would happen to women’s rights as a result.” The author goes on to state, “History has proved her wrong.” because “our society has come a long way in terms of advancing equal rights for women.”

Exactly. We didn’t need an Equal Rights Amendment to do it.

In fact, many of the gains women have realized would have been explicitly prohibited by ERA.

Any woman who has benefited from the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Violence Against Women Act or the provision in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), giving breastfeeding women the right to nurse or pump at work has Phyllis Schlafly to thank, as ERA would have forbidden any of the accommodation for women provided in these laws.

The push for ERA has been re-ignited by the recent “me too” movement. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that the Harvey Weinsteins of the world would be deterred by consulting the constitution’s direction to Congress before mistreating women.

When asked, ERA advocates cannot think of a single benefit ERA gives women. Advocates could better serve women by working to eliminate sex trafficking or other forms of actual victimization.

As for the General Assembly, if you’re taking suggestions from women, this author votes for a repeal of the personal property tax.

Colleen Holcomb