Louisiana Right to Life Opposes Ratification of the 1972 ERA

Louisiana Right to Life is opposing any effort by the Louisiana Legislature to pass a resolution supporting or ratifying the Federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that was submitted to the states in 1972 because of its abortion connection and its expired timeline.

HCR 2, which provides for ratification of the ERA, has been filed by Rep. Robby Carter (D-Amite).

“While we respect the worthy intentions of those legislators sponsoring and supporting the ERA, we must oppose the ratification of the 1972 ERA because it would cement the policy of abortion-on-demand in our nation,” said Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading organization supporting abortion, recently distributed an email which, in part, said, “With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws…”

In addition to its abortion connection, the original 1972 ERA amendment contained a seven-year deadline for ratification, which expired in 1979 with only 35 of the necessary 38 state legislatures having acted to ratify. Congress then passed a resolution that extended the deadline to 1982. However, no additional states ratified the ERA.

When the “deadline” was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Acting Solicitor General of the U.S. wrote a memorandum explaining that the ERA was no longer viable, and in 1982, the Supreme Court agreed, dismissing the case as moot.

In 1983 the majority leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives (then Democratic) also recognized that the 1972 ERA was dead by proposing that the same ERA language be sent out to the states again. However, the House voted down this ERA because there was no abortion neutral language in the amendment.

Therefore, any current resolution being proposed to ratify the ERA in Louisiana would be unconstitutional since the Supreme Court has already ruled that the 1972 ERA is no longer viable due to its past expiration date.

In the event a future ERA would be introduced in Congress, Louisiana Right to Life would support an “abortion neutrality” clause to address these concerns. However, the language of the 1972 ERA, as referenced by HCR 2, cannot be changed by the Louisiana Legislature.

A group supporting the ratification by the Louisiana Legislature, La Ratify ERA, is sponsoring a march and rally from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday at the State Library.

LARTL urges pro-life citizens to contact their legislators and ask them not to support this legislation. Click here to contact legislators.

Click here to view a one-page overview of LARTL’s opposition to the ERA.

Click here to view a multi-page detailed memo provided by National Right to Life and Louisiana Right to Life.