Renewed interest in passing the Equal Rights Amendment isn’t based on need. Women in America have the same legal rights as men. Although this hasn’t always been the case, it’s the reality now. This isn’t a subjective opinion, it’s confirmed by the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S Constitution and corresponding case law. It’s the result of the decades of hard fault battles by heroic women we should all be grateful for.
The 14th amendment clearly states “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In Reed v. Reed (1971), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the dissimilar treatment of men and women was unconstitutional. The Court stated the following "[t]o give a mandatory preference to members of either sex over members of the other, merely to accomplish the elimination of hearings on the merits, is to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Unsurprisingly, out fear of losing donor dollars and votes, some partisan organizations have resorted to running campaigns of misinformation based on denying or trivializing the aforementioned. Feminist activists will surely cringe at the idea of realized equality. They will inevitably bring up gender disparities in society while omitting the disparities that negatively affect men. These activists will gloss over the fact that the ERA’s current text promises legal protections that are already well-established in constitutional law. The implementation of the ERA would do next to nothing to address social (non-legal) disparities often cited by today's women rights activist.
The current push to pass the ERA has nothing to do with equality. The true goal of ERA is to expand on the federal level what has been done on the state level with similar amendments. Activists seek to enshrine unlimited taxpayer-funded abortion into the constitution invalidating the Hyde amendment.This renewed interest in the ERA is a ploy to cast anyone who may oppose the ERA as waging a war on women (just in time for the 2020 elections). Undoubtedly, we have to do more to fully integrate women into leadership roles, but this current push is a scheme to get those with moral objections towards abortion to fund it.
Williams is the policy director for the North Dakota Young Republicans. He’s an active economist who has worked for numerous liberty-based academic research centers and think-tanks. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Florida International University and his master's in financial economics from the University of Detroit Mercy. He originally relocated from Florida to Fargo with his wife in 2017. This column was submitted for consideration in The Forum's search for "the next great columnist."