Revived ERA Push Is an End Run by Abortion Advocates


There is no tactic pro-abortion Democrats in Congress won’t use to impose their radical agenda on an unsuspecting public. Once again they’re trying to revive the Equal Rights Amendment by obliterating a deadline that clearly expired four decades ago.

The reason could not have less to do with true equality. As written, the ERA would insert a right to abortion on demand, paid for by taxpayers, in the U.S. Constitution. Pro-abortion lobbying groups and even courts in states like New Mexico already interpret it that way, and efforts to make the amendment abortion-neutral have been rebuffed.

This latest push for the ERA follows two historic milestones that would make feminist pioneers like Alice Paul proud: the confirmation of the first pro-life mom to the Supreme Court, and the election of the largest group of pro-life congresswomen in history – both with the support of Marjorie Dannenfelser and the Susan B. Anthony List.

These women leaders are strong, diverse, accomplished, and unapologetically pro-life. I, Diana Harshbarger, am proud to serve the people of East Tennessee as one of them.

My life story is proof that abortion is not the key to women’s success. During my first year of pharmacy school, I became pregnant with my son, Bobby, while also working full time. I managed to juggle these three full-time responsibilities and went on to become a pharmacist and small business owner. Additionally, as a health care professional, I know how detrimental the pro-abortion myth is for women and girls. I have personally worked with women who have experienced infertility issues and helped them achieve successful pregnancies.

With successful female role models all around us, the ironic timing is one more clue that gives away the real agenda behind the ERA. Pro-abortion Democrats are afraid the Supreme Court, with three new justices, might finally respect our right to make laws that reflect our constituents’ values, after 48 long years of being blocked by the court.

Across the nation, state lawmakers are enacting more pro-life laws than at any point since Roe v. Wade. Last year Tennessee enacted some of the nation’s strongest protections for unborn children and their mothers. We like our pro-life laws, and we want to keep them. The ERA would destroy the progress we’ve made.

Tennessee’s unique history of reconsidering the ERA, after first supporting it, can provide insight and give lawmakers in Washington the courage they need to reject its false pretenses.

In 1972, when the state General Assembly ratified the ERA, its momentum seemed unstoppable. Understandably so – the ideal of equality under the law is our heritage as Americans. But then came Roe. The possibility that, in a single day, the court could strike down pro-life protections across the country and even force taxpayers to fund abortions must have seemed remote to many Americans at the time. Suddenly, it was a stark reality.

By 1974, Tennessee took back its ratification, joining Nebraska. Two more states followed, and one allowed a sunset provision to expire. The deadline set by Congress came and went, and the ERA was not added to the Constitution.

Fast-forward to the present day. Three states that belatedly “ratified” the ERA sued to try to force its adoption – a key element of pro-abortion Democrats’ strategy. Tennessee moved to intervene in the case, arguing that our vote to rescind should be honored. Earlier this month, we won. A federal court judge appointed by President Obama agreed that the deadline was valid and the old ERA null and void.

Pelosi Democrats’ attempt to do an end run around the constitutional process violates the rights of all Americans, in service of an agenda that is deeply anti-life and anti-woman. This is the very opposite of equality. We are disappointed that the resolution to revive the ERA passed the House but proud of those who voted no. We stand together in urging every member of the Senate, on both sides of the aisle, to say no to the ERA.

Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger represents Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. She is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor and the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.





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