Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wash. Post: New Drive Afoot to Pass Equal Rights Amendment

Interesting article in today's Washington Post, by Juliet Eilperin:

Federal and state lawmakers have launched a new drive to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, reviving a feminist goal that faltered a quarter-century ago when the measure did not gain the approval of three-quarters of the state legislatures.

The amendment, which came three states short of enactment in 1982, has been introduced in five state legislatures since January. Yesterday, House and Senate Democrats reintroduced the measure under a new name -- the Women's Equality Amendment -- and vowed to bring it to a vote in both chambers by the end of the session.

Among the many legal questions the article addresses are whether the 35 state votes to ratify the original ERA are still valid, and whether the amendment would require government funding for abortions.  The Supreme Court has ruled that such funding is not required for low-income women, even for medically necessary abortions.  (More on that at this post.)  It's true that the New Mexico Supreme Court interpreted the state's ERA to require state funding of medically necessary abortions for low-income women.  Who knows how the U.S. Supreme Court would interpret the proposed federal amendment -- the language of the amendment is very general and the Court's past rulings on sex discrimination and pregnancy are not encouraging.  But a different outcome for low-income women at the Supreme Court level would be an enormously important and welcome change.  Not sure what happens when women are denied abortions for medical needs short of life-endangering?  Read this post about the Polish single mother who is going blind because the government denied her an abortion.

Abortion, Congress, Politics, State Legislatures, Supreme Court | Permalink

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