Policy Briefs

The Equal Rights Amendment Poses Threats to Human Dignity and Religious Liberty

February 10, 2023

The ERLC affirms that God created every person—male and female—in His own image endowed with equal value and dignity. We also affirm that every life is worthy of protection and that women should be treated justly under the law. Unfortunately, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) debate is tainted with abortion politics. Abortion denies precious lives, both boys and girls, personhood and protection.

The ERA could eliminate any federal or state restrictions on partial-birth abortions or third-trimester abortions. Protecting vulnerable life should be a top priority of any just government. The United States is one of only a handful of countries that provide late term abortions. Ending elective abortion of human beings who feel pain is a necessary step in cultivating a culture of life in our nation. Government’s basic duty is to protect human life from bodily harm and provide justice for victims of violence.

The ERA could require taxpayer funding for abortions by eliminating the Hyde Amendment. Americans are divided on abortion policy, and many object to the use of their tax dollars for such a great moral wrong. In 1976, Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde proposed an amendment to an Appropriations bill to prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion. Since then, the Hyde Amendment passed every Congress for over forty years.

The ERA could eliminate conscience protections for medical professionals. No healthcare worker should be forced to participate in abortions or other medical procedures which conflict with their religiously informed conscience. Every American ought to be able to legally defend their inalienable right to freedom of conscience.

The ERA could eliminate distinctions based on sex, and effectively erase sex-segregated spaces, leaving women vulnerable. Spaces segregated on the basis of sex for reasons of safety and privacy, such as women’s shelters and prisons, could be viewed as discriminatory and opened to biological men. This loss of equal protection would make women and girls vulnerable. The ERLC urges Congress to not add the language of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.