Sunday, July 31, 2011

Women's Rights - The ERA that Never Was.

Question: What is the total number of registered voters in the US as of the last Presidential election?

The answer is that there are 169 million registered voters in the United States. 86 million are Democrats, and 55 million as Republicans, with about 28 million others unspecified. Of these, in the 2008 election it is estimated that about 131 million persons cast a vote. Of those votes 70 million were women, and 60 odd million were men.

Given these numbers I am constantly amazed at the fact that the ERA has never been Ratified by the Senate, where it has languished since passing the house in 1972. Since that time the Supreme Court decided Roe V. Wade, and then all the hoopla surrounding the passage of the ERA vanished, seemingly overnight. As a matter of fact, there are women in this country who are under the impression that they have the protection offered by such an Ammendment. With a woman Presidential Candidate in 2008, as well as the 17 Senators and 76 Congresswomen currently serving in the Legislative branch of our government, you would think that this would be a high priority issue.

We have had 3 women Secretary's of State who have traveled the world talking about Women's Rights in places like the Middle East and China. But I have never heard any of them mention the lack of an ERA here at home. The same is true of the 35 women serving as Governors of individual states. Here in North Carolina, we have a woman Governor, Beverly Purdue. She has just lost a battle with the Republican state legislature concerning a new 24 hour waiting period for a woman to seek an abortion. The woman must also watch a film and view photos about the negative consequences of abortion. No mention is made of the children born into inescapable poverty, or abuse. My question is, where are all the women on this issue? Why don't I hear more from the leaders of NOW as they have continued, for almost 40 years, to collect money for Women's Rights? Where is the money going? After all, Congresspersons, as well as Senators, are about the cheapest things that money can buy.

I cannot imagine how the women in America have dropped this ball. They need to band together for the 2012 campaign, making this an issue, and demand the passage of the ERA, without watering it down. The text of the Amendment is short and clear;

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

The ERA was introduced in every session of Congress from 1923 until 1972, when it was passed by Congress, but not Ratified by the Senate, where it had a statute of limitations lasting 7 years for it's passsage. It was even extended an additional 3 years in 1979, but still never Ratified. It was still, at that time, only 3 votes short of becoming the law of the land. It has been re-introduced, and soundly defeated in every Congress since. Why?

Here's the dirty little secret that keeps this Amendment from becoming law. The wording is not limited to just women. It includes all the Gay Lesbian Transgender and Transsexual groups. By its wording it is all inclusive. Should the wording be changed to cover only Women? That would be short sighted and foolishly split the disenfranchised groups asunder, making it impossible to gain any advantage, and perhaps in the process, even roll back some of the Women's Rights that have been gained since the 1970's.

No issue is as easy to tackle as it first appears on the surface. But this is one that needs to be resolved if we are to going to continue roaming the world talking about Equal Rights for Women, as well as Human Rights for All. I urge you to call upon your respective leaders in the Congress and Senate to put this issue to rest. A state by state listing of your lawmakers is attached below. I hope that you will use it.

For your Senator, go to this site;

For your Congressional Representative, go to this site;

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