Context—especially the historical context of centuries of a male-dominated medical establishment asserting control over the bodies of people who can become pregnant, often on the pretext that their uteruses made them too “irrational” to be making these decisions—is everything in this regard, and Milano’s video is primarily that: The History of Abortion, produced by the activists at Art Not War, is thorough, accurate, and engaging.
Milano argues: “Roe v. Wade was groundbreaking. But the only thing that can truly ensure full gender equality—including control of our bodies—is the Equal Rights Amendment, which has already surpassed the votes needed in the states to be ratified.”
The history Milano explores includes the multi-decade effort by religious extremists to undermine reproductive rights and ultimately to create an illegitimate, far-right Supreme Court on the verge of overturning Roe.
As Milano puts it:
“The recent leak proved that activist judges on the Supreme Court are ready and more than willing to overturn Roe v. Wade. President Biden and Congress have an obligation to fix the Constitution and stop women’s bodies from being used as a political football. Publish the ERA and ensure that our right to bodily autonomy is forever codified in the United States constitution.”
As Hunter noted back in 2020, even an attempt to enact the ERA is fraught at best: Several states, in fact, have rescinded their earlier ratifications of the ERA, and the matter would certainly be settled in a Supreme Court that currently has demonstrated an activist hostility to reproductive rights.
If the Equal Rights Amendment is ever to become law, the effort likely needs to start from scratch. That is not a bad plan, in fact: Remove the mewling “process” excuses hard-right conservative lawmakers have staked their opposition on and make the question plainer again: Will you vote for an amendment granting equal protections to women, or will you not? The founders clearly did not overlook such rights, but excluded them purposefully. Is it time, in the 21st century, to formally reject that exclusion?
The most common conservative complaint is that, like every other declaration of civil rights before it, an Equal Rights Amendment is not necessary because here in Real-Life America, equality is already self-evident. While the thought is lovely, in other words, putting it on paper is simply too wasteful to be bothered with.
The more direct Republican opposition, however, comes from exact opposite calculation: An Equal Rights Amendment would almost certainly take a wrecking ball to Republican anti-abortion laws across the country, laws intentionally written to strip rights from half the population.
That seems like a public fight worth having yet again. Put it on the ballot in every state and let’s see where we stand. For the record: The House originally passed the Equal Rights Amendment by a bipartisan 254-to-23 vote, back in 1971. The Republican venom toward equal rights for America’s women is something that’s developed more recently.