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Why the ERA Hurts Women

Wipes Out Existing Protections


The ERA would wipe out all kinds of laws and protections that have already been passed to ensure gender equality.


  • The following major federal laws guarantee equal pay for equal work: 

    • (1) the Equal Pay Act of 1963; (2) the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (3) the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972; and (4) the Federal Minimum Wage Act of 1974. 

  • Equal protection under the law is adequately covered by the following portions of the U.S. code:

    • (1) the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) the Comprehensive Health Manpower Training Act of 1971; (3) the Nurse Training Act of 1971; (4) the Higher Education Act of 1972; (5) the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973; and (6) the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1975. 

  • Equal access in education is guaranteed by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 



Trojan Horse for Abortion


  • The ERA helps the abortion industry worm its way into the Constitution. 

    • NARAL recently admitted in an e-mail to supporters that they advocate for the ERA because it enshrines a right to abortion into the Constitution. In an e-mail sent in March 2019, their chief lobbyist wrote, "In order to protect our reproductive freedom today it’s essential we pass the newly re-introduced bill to ratify the ERA. With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate both the constitutional right to privacy and sexual equality."

    • You can watch our video on the Equal Rights Amendment here: 

  • Abortion is not found in the U.S. Constitution, but this would provide constitutional cover for abortion, and in fact, similar language has been used at the state level to justify taxpayer-funded abortion. 

  • “Both the basis of the privacy argument and even the technical, technological underpinnings of [Roe] always seemed likely to expire,” said Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, the Women and Democracy Fellow at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. “Technology was always going to move us to a place where the trimester framework didn’t make sense.” 

  • “If you were rooted in an equality argument, those things would not matter,” she said. 

  • The Equal Rights Amendment, which would prohibit sex discrimination the way the Constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, religion and national origin, could do just that. The ERA would provide the framework for an equality argument: Women’s equality necessarily requires reproductive and bodily autonomy, and without control over our bodies, women cannot participate as full and equal citizens in this country.

  • The text of the ERA itself doesn’t mention abortion. It reads, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” A right to abortion based on an Equal Rights Amendment wouldn’t be about abortion itself. It would be about women’s ability to live equally as full citizens under the law. 

  • However, pro-abortion groups have publicly said they want the ERA so they can override pro-life laws.

    •  NARAL Pro-Choice America: “With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate both the constitutional right to privacy and sexual equality.”

    • NARAL Pro-Choice America: “The ERA will help protect women’s rights to… abortion.  With five anti-choice justices on the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade on the chopping block, it’s more important than ever that we codify women’s bodily autonomy in our laws.”

    •  National Organization for Women (NOW): “An ERA –properly interpreted – could negate the hundreds of laws that have been passed restricting access to abortion care and contraception.”

    • Emily Martin (general counsel for the National Women’s Law Center) said that the ERA would enable courts to rule that restrictions on abortion “perpetuate gender inequality.”

    •  Erin Matson (co-director of Reproaction): "Abortion restrictions amount to sex discrimination because they single out people for unfair treatment on the basis of sex, and a federal ERA could provide a backstop to fight the wave of restrictions on abortion."

    • Kelli Garcia (Senior Counsel, National Women’s Law Center): “The ERA would help create a basis to challenge abortion restrictions. We see the ERA as another tool that would strengthen our existing protections.”[6]

  • Several state equal rights amendments have already been interpreted this way, and could point the way forward. In 1986, the Connecticut Superior Court struck down an abortion restriction using the state’s ERA, ruling that “discrimination against pregnancy by not funding abortion when it is medically necessary and when all other medical expenses are paid by the state for both men and women is sex-oriented discrimination.” In 1998, New Mexico’s high court ruled that a policy to restrict funding for medically necessary abortions violated New Mexico’s Equal Rights Amendment “because it result[ed] in a program that does not apply the same standard of medical necessity to both men and women.”



Other Reasons the ERA is a Bad Deal for Women


  • ERA will empower courts, Congress and regulatory agencies … not women. 

    • The language of the effort will allow activists again to use the courts and governmental agencies to push an abortion agenda. This is the Everything Related to Abortion act … rather than an effort designed to put women first. 

    • Section II of the ERA states that “The Congress shall have the power to enforce by appropriate legislation the provisions of this article.” This would give enormous new powers to the Federal Government that currently belong to the states. 



  • ERA could end Social Security benefits for spouses, particularly harming stay-at-home spouses. 

    • “According to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s book Sex Bias in the U.S. Code, 'the ERA will change 800 federal laws including the elimination of social security benefits for wives and widows (pages 206, 211-212).'"



  • ERA could eliminate child support: 

    • “…[I]t could relieve the fathers of the primary responsibility for the support of even infant children, as well as the support of the mothers of such children…” (U.S. House Judiciary Committee Report (No. 92-359, July 14, 1971). “Equality of rights under law shall not be denied…on account of sex. 


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