Saw an article today wondering why gay rights are on a roll and women’s rights to abortion and birth control are being gutted. Gay rights have been framed as a human rights issue and since there are gay men, the idea of gays getting equal rights is gaining traction every year. Makes sense. Women’s reproductive rights, however, were “found” in Supreme Court Justices view of privacy. Since only women are losing their “right to privacy” lately, that is OK since men still have their right to privacy.
Just my own opinion here but it seems clear to me that the Justices had to use the “privacy” route to let women control their own lives because back then it would have been way too radical to declare that women are human beings, fully equal to men and deserving of ALL the freedoms and responsibilities of a true citizen. Even now we have Antonin Scalia making the point that women do not have ANY rights actually written down except for right to vote. As he said regarding the 14th Amendment not applying to women: “Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.”
The last time the ERA was up for votes, it looked like a sure thing for a few years. Then Phyllis Schlafly brought her ladies against women schtick into the fray and scared Americans silly by saying that the ERA would see women forced into military service and that women and men would have to use the same restrooms.
Well, here we are in 2015 and the two big bugaboos that the ERA was supposed to cause have happened.
The US military does not want drafted soldiers at all and the draft is not enforced. Women have volunteered into the military and fought for our country and come home in coffins. If the draft is ever revived, both sexes should be put on the rolls. That thing about men and women using the same restrooms? Well, since some transgender people are men, they are going to get the right to enter women’s spaces, regardless of the increased risk to women.
So I think if must be time for the ERA to have another shot. I would not bet any money on it passing even now, though. While racism is generally condemned nowadays, sexism is still tolerated and celebrated. Don’t believe me? If Clinton does make a run the the presidency, get back to me after 2016 campaign is done and give me a report on the state of sexism in the USA.
Unless we pass the ERA, the only hope for women’s rights in this country will be if 5 Supreme Court Justices get the backbone to declare that reproductive rights are HUMAN rights and then declare that women are human beings. We could proceed to other issues in getting full equality for women after that.
And that scenario can only happen if we get a Democrat in the White House again and a couple of old woman-hating Justices meet their maker. While I would be OK with watching old sexists leave the world for good, I would rather have my rights in writing.