by Steven Ertelt
February 5, 2007
Little Rock, AR (LifeNews.com) — The Arkansas state legislature will soon consider a resolution to make the state the next to approve the federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Though much of the nation has forgotten the legal debate surrounding the controversial amendment, one pro-life group says its final approval would result in promoting abortion.
The Arkansas The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on HJR 1002 on Wednesday. The measure would add Arkansas to the list of states supporting ratification of the ERA.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and its state affiliate, Arkansas Right to Life, oppose the ERA bill.
They say the sweeping language of the 1972 ERA would be used as a legal weapon against virtually all laws that regulate abortion. In fact, the ERA has been used for that purpose other states, including New Mexico, where it was used to force the state to pay for abortions.
"In other states, major national pro-ERA organizations have argued that laws limiting tax-funded abortions or requiring parental consent for minors’ abortions violate ERAs," NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnson explained in a statement LifeNews.com received.
Johnson said ERA backers have erroneously denied the abortion connection.
"We’d like to see more candor by the pro-ERA side in Arkansas," Johnson said, adding, "they should stop telling Arkansas legislators that there is no connection."
The bill looks poised to make headway in the legislature as 66 out of 100 House members have cosponsored the resolution, along with 11 senators.
ERA supporters have claimed to have commitments from 14 senators and the support of 18 of the 35 state senators is needed to approve the resolution.
Johnson said pro-life advocates should be concerned if Arkansas adopts the ERA.
The deadline for ratification of the 1972 ERA expired many years ago, and that the U.S. Supreme Court flatly declared it dead in 1982. Nevertheless, if three states adopt resolutions such as HJR 1002, Congress would be forced to vote on whether to declare the 1972 ERA as ratified.