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Hartzler Statement on Equal Rights Amendment

February 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) issued the following statement before the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) vote today in the House of Representatives:

“I commend the women who have gone before us, to celebrate the achievements women have made, and to reaffirm the fact that we are already equal in the eyes of God and in law. Women make up 51% of the population, comprise over half of college students, make up most of today’s medical and law school students, and own the majority of new businesses. Little girls can be whatever they want to be whether that be an astronaut, a doctor, a full-time mom working at home, or a Member of Congress.

However, today’s legislation is problematic on several fronts. First, the resolution is unconstitutional. The time limit to pass the ERA expired decades ago. Congress can’t go back and remove a deadline from a previous constitutional amendment initiative. The Supreme Court has recognized that the 1972 ERA expired, and the Department of Justice issued a ruling saying, “Congress may not revive a proposed amendment after a deadline for its ratification has expired.” Pretending we can remove the time limits for passage is both futile and deceptive.
Secondly, if the time limit COULD be extended, the ERA would not bring women any more rights than they currently have but it would entrench the legality of abortion. We know this from court precedent and by listening to those who have the most to gain from constitutionally protecting abortion on demand.
In 1998, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the Equal Rights Amendment in their state constitution requires state-funding of abortions. Federal courts are likely to do the same.
Perhaps this is why every major pro-abortion organization is endorsing passage of the ERA.
NARAL Pro-Choice America says: “With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion….”
National Organization for Women: “An ERA—properly interpreted—could negate the hundreds of laws that have been passed restricting access to abortion care.…”
But that’s not the only concern with passing this resolution. Besides being unconstitutional and shredding state and federal pro-life protections, the ERA would also erase decades of progress which have provided opportunities for women, advanced women’s progress through federal programs, and secured necessary protections for women and girls.
How? By incorporating gender identity in the definition of ‘sex’, jeopardizing private spaces for women, girls’ sports programs, and women’s educational institutions.The ERA also endangers laws, programs and funding designed to benefit women, providing a pathway for legal challenges to welfare programs, grants for battered women’s shelters, efforts to bolster women participating in STEM programs, as well as state laws governing child support, alimony, and custody.
These outcomes of the ERA are anything but pro-woman. I will vote ‘No’ on today’s resolution and uphold the Constitution, promote life, and protect women’s rights that have been so hard-fought gained,” Hartzler concluded.