Real harm

Chicago Tribune - - PERSPECTIVE -

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.

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