U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
When it comes to the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment”, Democratic women in the House including “the Squad” are fully on board with ratifying it. And for some, not just in a generally supportive way, but in a Code Red “if America doesn’t do this NOW then women will continue to live in shackles!” kind of way.
You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not far off the mark. Earlier this week, Squad member Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), took to the floor of the U.S. House to make a stunning declaration during her speech in support of waiving the deadline for states to ratify the ERA.
“The year is now 2020, and here we women are still in so many ways not fully free, still shackled,” she stated, asserting that the Constitution is “sexist by its very design” after spouting off debunked statistics about the mythical gender wage gap:
Rep. @AyannaPressley: "The year is now 2020, and here we women are still in so many ways not fully free, still shackled.”
“We face pregnancy discrimination, discrimination in the criminal legal system … But this isn’t an accident,” U.S. is “sexist by its very design" pic.twitter.com/EduOUz4YWF
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 13, 2020
Fellow Squad member Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who follows a religious ideology that oppresses women on a massive scale, said on the House floor that people who opposed the ratification of the ERA were “obsessed” with controlling and oppressing women:
Rep. Rashida Tlaib says voting against the Equal Rights Amendment is "condoning oppression of women" in the US: "I want you all to know this is about women of color, women with disabilities, transgender women, immigrant women." pic.twitter.com/B0GoMp9Faz
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) February 13, 2020
And in a scene reminiscent of a speech given in the 1950s, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) bizarrely suggested that “violence and harassment” against women will be “prohibited” by the ERA – as though those things aren’t already against the law:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "At America's founding, women were intentionally left out of the Constitution… Today we still receive less pay for the same work and we receive violence and harassment just for being a woman. But the #ERA will prohibit all of that." pic.twitter.com/wmNO5ox3O4
— The Hill (@thehill) February 14, 2020
I watched these videos and was genuinely embarrassed for the women making these arguments, because they appear to really believe that not much has changed for women since America’s founding. If you didn’t know any better, after watching them speak you’d think that women had no rights here. Furthermore, you’d probably conclude that subjugation and oppression were the rule rather than the exception for women in the United States.
There are numerous reasons why the ERA should never become ratified.
The first one is that one of the intents behind it was to remove all restrictions on abortion. The second is that women already have equal rights in America. Not only that, but existing law allows for them to sue in the event they feel they are being discriminated against on the basis of their sex.
Furthermore, the amendment would essentially codify into law what transgender rights activists have been trying to do for the last several years: give men identifying as women the right to play in women’s sports, be allowed into women’s locker rooms, etc.
If there are any gaps in existing law anywhere in terms of protections for women, they can be addressed at the local, state and/or national levels on an individual basis, rather than by way of a sweeping amendment that goes way too far and that would do more harm than good for women.
Democratic women (and men) seek to keep hope for the ERA alive because for them it makes for good political theater. It whips up the base. It gets liberal women more motivated to stir the pot and further stoke divisions in our country.
But it’s not needed.