On May 8th, NPR’s Rachel Otwell inverviewed Ann Schlafly Cori, daughter of Phyllis Schlafly. In this interview, Cori continued to spout old arguments against the ERA that have no basis in fact. Listen to Cori’s interview here.
We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own set of facts. Ratify ERA Illinois Co-founder, Lisa Kaihara counters Cori’s mis-information with actual facts.
My name is Lisa Kaihara with RatifyERAIL. I listened to an interview done on 05/08/18 with Anne Schlafly Cori about the current status of the Equal Rights Amendment ratification in Illinois as well as her 5/07/18 testimony and I have to say I am dismayed.
I am not surprised by the content of Ms.Cori’s discourse. I am surprised by the false information that was left unchallenged. If you will bear with me I will provide some of the facts here. My hope is that you desire to vote based on factual information and not hyperbole and false assertions.
In the interview and in the hearing, Ms. Cori and her associates presented the following arguments against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. I would like to challenge them point by point.
1. The ERA will do nothing, it is poorly worded.
The Equal Rights Amendment was framed to match the 15th and 19th Amendments. The 19th Amendment reads: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” There has been no confusion that I am aware of about the use of the word sex.
The Amendment has been ratified by 36 states in its current form. It must remain in that form for any future votes.
2. Five states voted to rescind.
There is no Constitutional framework to rescind. A new group of legislators can’t come in two years later and change their mind on an Amendment. Once it is certified by the Federal Government a state cannot reverse it. We do believe there is a strong legal argument to prove this point.
3. The Draft, if reinstated would require equal numbers of men and women in combat, on the front lines.
There has been no draft since 1973. In 2016 the Pentagon proposed including women in the Selective Service sign up. Article link here: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/senate-bill-wants-women-to-register-for-draft-in-2018 and print out attached. This proposal was made in the absence of and with no regard to an Equal Rights Amendment.
I think we can all agree that there are physical differences between men and women and there are physical requirements for various military duties. The picture of a “diluted” force because of women in combat is deceptive. Women that have volunteered to serve in the Armed Forces have been assigned based on their individual abilities and merits, not on their sex.
4. Abortion. Taxpayers will be paying for abortions, no limits on late term, partial birth (which is an inflammatory term) and no parental notifications.
Roe v Wade was decided on the right to privacy of the 14th Amendment and is a legal right, again in the absence of and with no regard to an Equal Rights Amendment.
Some states that have a version of an ERA in their own Constitutions have tried to use it in cases of Medicaid payments for MEDICALLY NECESSARY abortions. For example, Medicaid pays for prostate surgeries (male only). The cases argued that Medicaid must also pay for an abortion of an ectopic pregnancy (female only). State courts have ruled that Medicaid must pay (New Mexico) and that Medicaid is prohibited from paying (Pennsylvania).
The ERA says nothing about abortion, whether paid for by Medicaid or not. The statement that there is no question that the ERA will affect abortion issues is as patently false as is the assertion that ERA supporters admit that it will permit all abortion.
What we do admit is that it has nothing to do with abortion. As said in the Monday hearing, denying Constitutional equality to prevent the possibility of an abortion makes as much sense as withholding driver licenses to prevent women from driving to an abortion clinic. Not to mention denying it to those of us not reproducing due to choice, age or physical limitations.
5. Prisons, shelters etc. no longer segregated.
Illinois has had an ERA in its Constitution since 1970. Yet we still have separate jails, prisons, shelters and bathrooms. Equal is not same. Privacy laws will prevent prisons, shelters and bathrooms from a coed mandate.
6. A power grab by the Federal Government.
Equality is a basic American principle. It is not a social law and should not be up for debate. States have no more right to deny equality based on sex than they do on race. When the Constitution was written women were the property of their fathers and husbands. Yet the fight for women’s rights began back in 1848 in Seneca Falls. It has been a slow hard road.
During the ratification process begun in the 70s women worked to pass laws that moved them towards equality. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment wasn’t applied to women until 1971. Women could not get credit in their own names until 1974. It took until 1978 for it to become illegal to fire you if you became pregnant.
At the time of the last movement there were still laws on the books that required men to financially support their wives. There were benefits for women and children. Fear of losing those safeguards and a backlash to the cultural changes of the 60s and 70s fueled Schlafly’s movement. Those safeguards no longer exist. Today women are in the workforce by choice and by need yet earn less than their male counterparts. Social security and other programs are gender neutral. Even the Women Infant and Children program includes men that meet the requirements.
What we are left with now is a patchwork of laws that are inconsistently enforced and can be overturned by a simple majority vote. Federal courts treat only gender discrimination with intermediate scrutiny that makes it harder to prove (and win) than discrimination based on race, religion or country of origin. Your basic right to equality shouldn’t depend on where and when you live. The Equal Rights Amendment provides a clear unambiguous declaration of equality guaranteed for every generation to come.
I’m sure when faced with voting to end slavery there was fear of backlash by voters. Yet slavery was abolished because it was recognized that the color of someone’s skin cannot be the basis to deny them basic human rights. Do you not recognize the same for women?
The minority of voters that oppose ratification will see no effects of a yes vote, nor any of us, for some time to come. Considering the time lapse between Illinois’ ratification vote and the 38th state to follow, in addition to any legal challenges that may occur, it is highly doubtful that a yes vote for the ERA is going to be the issue that overrides all other challenges our state will face during upcoming elections.
Not voting for ratification will solidify our state’s national reputation for obstructing equality first earned in the 70s and 80s. At a time when residents and businesses can and do relocate based on any number of factors, is denying equality the message you wish to send, especially in 2018?
There is overwhelming support for the Equal Rights Amendment. Every day more and more Americans become aware that they falsely believed it had already been ratified. A yes vote puts you on the right side of history. A no vote will say what?
Thank you for your time. Please do the right thing and vote YES on SJRCA4.