Editor: This is a follow-up to my previously published letter concerning the pain capable bill and in respect to the letter published last week from members of the Sorensen Political Leaders Program about the Equal Rights Amendment. Though obviously well intended, this may have unintended consequences for the most delicate and vulnerable—the unborn.
Putting aside the legal protections already existing (various state laws, Virginia Equal Pay Act, and, yes, a more modern interpretation of our Constitution) depending on the language adopted, this may invalidate these legal protections for all. Worse yet, I understand leading pro-abortion groups (NARAL, ACLU and Planned Parenthood) have used the ERA in other states to do just that. This may be used as a tool to invalidate laws that treat abortion differently from other “medical procedures,” including laws restricting taxpayer funding for abortion, third trimester or partial-birth abortion bans and laws requiring parental consent for minors.
If the ERA were enshrined in our U.S. Constitution, legal challenges and uncertainty would arise over the treatment of battered women’s shelters, women’s sports, accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace, prisons, etc. Courts and Congress would be empowered to define and enact measures protecting “sex” and “equality of rights,” potentially resulting in religious liberty and conscience protection threats based upon traditional views of marriage and human sexuality.
The most direct threat is the ambiguity of the ERA language on abortion and the lack of abortion-neutral language. That leaves open significant concerns for the future unborn. Yes, we have freedoms, but some wounded by bad choices need to be set free. In God we trust. When God is forgotten, the creature grows unintelligible.
Scott B. Cypher, Sterling