USCCB urges lawmakers to oppose amendment that could require government funding of abortion

The U.S. bishops’ conference is urging congressional lawmakers to oppose the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, a measure they say could threaten religious freedom and fund abortion.

Some members of Congress are pushing for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution. The amendment states that “[e]quality of rights under law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Although the original congressionally-mandated deadline for the ratification of the amendment was 1982, some members in the House now seek to remove that deadline and honor the recent votes of several state legislatures, as well as previous votes of other states, to ratify the amendment.

Although the amendment’s goal of ensuring “just wages and the fair treatment of women” is laudable, leading U.S. bishops have said, they warned in a March 12 letter to members of Congress that the amendment’s language prohibiting sex discrimination would require government funding of abortion by design.

“At least two states have construed their own equal rights amendments, with language analogous to that of the federal ERA, to require government funding of abortion,” stated the letter by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City and Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, as well as Bishop David Konderla of Tulsa, sent to members of Congress.

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