The New York Times overlooked major details about the negative unintended consequences of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment and the serious problems it would create for women–especially female prisoners and poor mothers — in her recent “explainer,” article.
Writer Maya Salam fails to delve into the more substantive critiques of the ERA, boiling it all simply down to vilifying Phyllis Schlafly “Her argument was mostly that women already had equal rights, but also that the E.R.A. would tear apart the traditional family structure and strip women of remaining privileges, such as having separate bathrooms and college dormitories for men and women,” Salam writes. “These are the same arguments opponents have made in recent years as E.R.A. efforts picked up steam.”
Salam did not actually interview any conservative women for her article, but she did include interviews with liberal women supported in the ERA. Salam failed to recognize arguments from women at the Independent Women’s Forum, who point out that “The ERA could also affect dozens of laws meant to protect and benefit women. For example, the WIC program (Women, Infants, and Children) provides welfare benefits for mothers, in what could be considered sex-based discrimination.
“Similarly, state laws that set presumptions in favor of mothers retaining custody of very young children could be in jeopardy, as could various family court staples like alimony and child support. Even gender-neutral language would not guarantee a law would be upheld under the ERA if the benefits traditionally accrued to female homemakers.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has voiced her opinion that the Social Security laws granting dependent spouses benefits violate the equality principle because they (de facto) encourage women to stay out of the workforce …There are many instances where the sexes are segregated for women’s safety, even in government facilities. Boys and girls, for example, still use separate bathrooms and locker rooms in most public schools, transgender accommodations notwithstanding. Male and female prisoners are kept separated in prisons, as are male and female patients even in hospitals receiving federal dollars through Medicare and Medicaid.”