Tuesday, 02 December 2014 00:00

Letter to Legislators on the ERA - Don't Let Phyllis Schafly Fool You (Again)

Written by Eileen Davis

The Illinois House is poised to vote on ratification of the ERA tomorrow before noon. Phyllis Schafly and her cronies are now on the ground in Springfield spreading the same stories they did back in the 80's. There's no stopping this train!

I am writing to ask you to please vote YES tomorrow to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and bring The United States one state closer to finishing its final ratification as a Constitutional Amendment. I know you have found the build up to this vote contentious, and as a registered nurse who serves in a church sponsored community health clinic I would like to share my thoughts with you as to why it is so important you vote YES on SJRCA0075, (Illinois's ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment). Every generation has had its opposition to this important civil rights legislation,known as the equal rights amendment, and that opposition has mirrored its generation of origin, from fear of "petticoat rule" in the early 20's, to preserving the "madmen Culture" in the 50's and 60's, to fear of women in the military in the 70's and 80's. It is notable every generation following has found these objections difficult to understand and downright wrong.

Today's opposition forces are trying to promote the false narrative that a federal Equal Rights Amendment is an abortion bill- it is not. Fact is Roe v Wade was decided on the constitutional right to privacy, and there is nothing in the statement "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United Stated or any other state on account of sex" (gender), that speaks to pregnancy, uteruses, etc.

In fact, if one wants to consider what effect a ratified Equal Rights Amendment would have on abortion rates, I can testify that as an ER, Clinic, and Birth Educator Nurse with decades of experience, a Ratified Equal Rights Amendment would reduce abortions.... Why? Because as a health professional, I can tell you each and every time in the many many times I have ever told a women she was pregnant , if this wasn't received as happy news, the first words uttered is always some variation of " I don't know how I'm going to afford this baby", "I can't afford another child" or "I can't lose my job". Over decades this narrative has never wavered. I can't stress enough the correlation I have seen between a woman's economic and job security and her decision whether to continue an unplanned pregnancy. If you really want to support women and their unplanned pregnancies, empower women with a solid foundation of constitutionally guaranteed gender equality law, which would add strict scrutiny to economic equality, equal pay and opportunity and provide economic and job security to all women, pregnant or not. Please vote YES and Ratify the Federal Equal Rights Amendment. Please also consider, when women can depend on equal pay and equal opportunity, they won't need government programs to fill that gap.

I welcome your questions and thank you for your time.

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    Listen to the October call as the team speaks on several new developments - an additional strategy call outside the monthly call, new co-sponsors who have signed onto the federal legislation, evaluation of the new film, Suffragettes, as an organizing tool - pros and cons, the CA equal pay bill, and new tools available through PDAction.

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