The Pros And Cons Of The Equal Rights Amendment

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The full text of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) reads as follows, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” (qtd. in Stewart 33). These twenty-four words would become some of the most controversial of the twentieth century. Under the nineteenth amendment, American women obtained the right to vote in 1920. This amendment inspired Alice Paul to draft the first ERA which she then introduced to the United States Congress in 1923. After this first proposal, the ERA would eventually be proposed in each succeeding session of Congress (Stewart 33). Despite its introduction every year for fifty years, the ERA did not accumulate a strong opposing force until after it…show more content…
The opponents viewed the traditional role of Housewife as the most fulfilling job a woman could have; Schlafly herself called the American housewife a “domestic economist” (46). Those involved with Schlafly’s STOP ERA campaign saw the proposed amendment as a way to force women to be more like men by pressuring them to take jobs outside the home and provide for themselves themselves rather than be financially supported solely by their husbands. Reverend Jerry Falwell once said, “God Almighty created men and women biologically different and with differing needs and roles. Good husbands who are godly men are good leaders. Their wives and children want to follow them” (B5). According to this man, God wanted women to be subject to their husbands. Ratification of the ERA could allow women to no longer be bound by their husbands, therefore upsetting God and his idea of what a family should be. As simple as it sounds, extending the Constitution to women through the ERA, led the religious to oppose it because of the fear it would create disruption within the traditional Judeo-Christian family structure.
Another supposed attack on the family was the presumed inclusion of a woman’s right to abortion in the Equal Rights Amendment, though it was never actually included in the text of the ERA.
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