The Illinois General Assembly would be foolish to try to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment 36 years after it failed. Congress set a time limit of seven years, and ERA failed to meet the legal requirement that ratification be contemporaneous. Plenty of other states would reject ERA if they voted on it today and five did rescind their ratification in the 1970s.
ERA is a poorly written amendment that would not put “women” in the Constitution; it would put “sex” in the Constitution. Sex has many definitions besides gender. Plus, ERA has a second clause, which your editorial did not mention, that requires the federal government to enforce the amendment. Hundreds of good state laws would be overturned — such as sex segregated prisons, women’s shelters, and legal accommodations for pregnant women. ERA would mandate taxpayer-paid abortions and equal representation of women in military combat and selective service. Passing ERA would take away plenty of rights that women enjoy; but nothing in ERA would ever give women a pay raise or stop any sexual harassers.
ERA would not be “symbolic,” but would cause real harm to real women by mandating that men and women are interchangeable in every circumstance. I am proud to continue the fight against this destructive amendment that my mother, Phyllis Schlafly, led. — Anne Schlafly Cori, Alton, Ill.