by Family Research Council
January 18, 2019
On January 10, 2019, a press conference was held by The Family Foundation to oppose the “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA). Two spokeswomen for Family Research Council made the following statements.
Alexandra McPhee – Director of Religious Freedom Advocacy:
The ERA fails procedurally—it is legally moot, and thus, off the table for ratification. In 1972, when the amendment passed, Congress itself conditioned ratification on a deadline: March 22, 1979. A later extension moved the date to June 30, 1982. Proponents of the amendment failed to rally enough states to ratify the amendment at either juncture, and in that time five states withdrew their ratification.
Now, 36 years later, proponents believe they can and should revive this stale effort. But they cannot and should not.
Congress reasonably imposed this deadline because a lot can happen in five years, and even more in a lifetime. The deadline was binding enough when the ERA thought it would win. Now that it has lost—twice—proponents argue that the rules need not apply.
If Congress represents the will of the people, why ignore that? 2019 is not the time to undermine the will of the people in 1982, when the people of at least 15 states decided that the ERA should fail. And what ratifying states wanted in 1982 and earlier should not dictate the voice of the people in 2019.
Assuming all of this, whatever ERA proponents want the General Assembly to pass will have to make its way anew through Congress by a 2/3rds vote. Based on the current makeup of Congress, the ERA will not garner the necessary votes.
As a woman, the ERA does not support my interests, so I do not support ERA—nor should it find support in those who understand the negative consequences that will result from this amendment. I urge all representatives to Vote NO.
Patrina Mosley – Director of Life, Culture and Women’s Advocacy:
Women are continually used as props to push an agenda. The ERA is not about women, it is really a smokescreen for abortion. Abortion has extinguished over 60 million children from our nation and by design, our poor and minority communities have been disproportionately affected.
The majority opinion of Roe written by Justice Blackmun is laced with eugenic ideology and has even been acknowledged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The abortion industry, from day one, has used the courts to force its agenda. Now that it seems that the courts may be stacked against them, they will use any backdoor (or prop – even if it’s women) to preserve abortion.
Abortion lobbyists who fatten the wallets of legislators knows that abortion has no actual constitutional basis and are convinced they need a constitutional amendment to keep abortion “legal.”
While trying to protect abortion, the ERA leaves women unprotected by threatening legal distinctions based on sex. This puts men in women’s shelters, prisons, bathrooms, showers, sports, and more. Instead of achieving “equality,” the ERA has undermined the already achieved protections specifically designed for women.
But today, we act like we don’t even know what sex/gender means! So, if the ERA really cared about protecting women it would have seen it as necessary to define what it means to be a woman. It does not.
This amendment has failed so many times because it is disingenuous and has no moral compass—therefore it continues to trip over itself.
The ERA is bad all the way around. I urge all representatives to Vote NO.
The issue of abortion is emotional, heated, and fraught with passionate opinions on all sides, and rightly so—the lives of human beings in the womb hang in the balance. It’s no surprise, then, that a lot of misguided, inflammatory, and patently false rhetoric inevitably surrounds the abortion issue whenever it is debated.
Dr. Ingrid Skop, a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist for 22 years, is passionate about inserting some much-needed scientific truth and common sense into the abortion debate from the perspective of a medical professional who works with pregnant women on a daily basis. In FRC’s new video series and corresponding publication, she dispels 10 common myths about abortion.
Over the next two weeks leading up to FRC’s ProLifeCon and the March for Life, we will be releasing a series of 10 videos of Dr. Skop discussing each myth about abortion. For a more detailed discussion of each myth, be sure to read FRC and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (AAPLOG) new publication authored by Dr. Skop, Top 10 Myths About Abortion.
Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council, was a speaker at the latest meeting of the World Congress of Families (WCF), held September 14-16 in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Moldova is located between Romania and Ukraine. Peter’s talk described “Five Myths About ‘Gender Identity’” as part of a panel discussion on “Gender Ideology—The Latest Attack on the Family and the Legal Challenges It Poses.”
The “Gender Ideology” panel was moderated by Patrick Byrne, President of the National Civil Council in Australia, who is also author of a new book, Transgender: One Shade of Grey. The panel included Stephen Baskerville, a professor at Patrick Henry College who is the author of The New Politics of Sex: The Sexual Revolution, Civil Liberties, and the Growth of Governmental Power. Former FRC Fellows Pat Fagan and Allan Carlson (founder of the World Congress of Families) were also among the speakers in Moldova.
FRC renewed its formal partnership with the WCF this year, and Peter has attended all but one of the World Congress events since 2004, speaking in Mexico City (2004) and Salt Lake City (2015).
The event had the active support of the President of Moldova, Igor Dodon (pictured), and Moldovan First Lady Galina Dodon’s charitable foundation “Din Suflet” (From the Soul). President Dodon spoke at the opening and closing ceremonies (despite having survived a rollover car accident just days earlier, after a truck swerved into his motorcade). Dodon declared at the opening session:
[T]he philosophy aimed at strengthening the institution of the family and based on the priority of traditional family values should become an alternative to the actively propagated anti-family ideology. Our motto is: “Every child should be brought up only in a family”. A family should only be regarded as an alliance between a man and a woman, a father and a mother.
Moldova’s Constitution includes reference to the family, with Article 48 stating:
The family shall be founded on a freely consented marriage between a husband and wife, on their full equality in rights and the parents’ right and obligation to ensure their children’s upbringing, education and training.
Dodon also expressed concern over demographic trends in his country, noting, “Over the past 27 years – the years of independence – we have lost up to one third of our population for various reasons.” He warned that if current trends continue, Moldova may lose another third of its population within the next 20 years. For this reason, he has supported policies such as paying subsidies to families that have four or more children. Dodon also officially declared 2019 to be “The Year of the Family” in Moldova.
The theme of the Congress was “The Natural Family: Uniting East and West.” Most of the residents of the former Soviet bloc hold conservative views on social issues, and the last three WCF gatherings have been held in Eastern Europe: in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2016; Budapest, Hungary in 2017; and in Moldova this year.
The World Congress of Families is also significant in bringing together the three main branches of Christianity: Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox. An elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) also spoke at the event. Moldova is predominantly Orthodox, and representatives of both the Moldovan Orthodox Church and Russian Orthodox Church participated in the event. Many participants, including Peter, attended worship Sunday morning at the Central Orthodox Cathedral in Chisinau, along with President Dodon.
At the closing ceremonies for this year’s Congress, Brian Brown, President of the International Organization for the Family (IOF), which organizes the WCF, announced that the next World Congress of Families will be held in Verona, Italy from March 29-31, 2019.
Family Research Council has submitted public comments urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to retain a regulation that prohibits “gender alterations” (hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery) from being funded by taxpayers as part of the VA’s medical benefits package.
The VA had received a “Petition for Rulemaking” from transgender activists urging that it lift the restriction, which is found in 38 CFR 17.38(c)(4).
The comment, written by FRC Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg, said that the cost of these procedures would be exorbitant, and there is no convincing scientific evidence that they are effective in improving mental health or reducing suicide rates among those who undergo them.
A synopsis of the comments stated:
VA benefits should be aimed at the direst, most life-threatening needs first. They should not go to surgery on physically healthy individuals who elect to alter their physically healthy bodies.
In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a memo declining to issue a National Coverage Determination (NCD) mandating coverage for gender reassignment surgery. They declared that “there is not enough high quality evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes.” What CMS was unwilling to do for Medicare recipients, the VA should not be doing for recipients of VA medical benefits.
Advocates for taxpayer funding of medical gender transition claim that it will reduce the mental health problems and risk of suicide that are known to exist at higher levels among those who identify as transgender. However, one of the strongest studies ever done on the subject, a 2011 study out of Sweden (Dhejne et al., PLoS ONE) did not support such a conclusion. The CMS memo stated:
The study identified increased mortality and psychiatric hospitalization compared to the matched controls. The mortality was primarily due to completed suicides (19.1-fold greater than in control Swedes), but death due to neoplasm and cardiovascular disease was increased 2 to 2.5 times as well… . The risk for psychiatric hospitalization was 2.8 times greater than in controls even after adjustment for prior psychiatric disease (18%).
Finally, the exorbitant cost of these procedures can hardly be justified for so little benefit. Data from the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery suggests that a comprehensive package of male-to-female surgical procedures would cost $110,450, and female-to-male procedures would cost $89,050. That’s not to mention hormone treatment, which is required indefinitely and can cost as much as $200 a month.
There is a gaping hole in American foreign policy today, and it is negatively affecting our national security and the security of the world.
“There has been a ‘religious freedom avoidance syndrome’ in the State Department,” said Dr. Tom Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute, during a recent FRC Speaker Series panel discussion held in Washington, D.C.“…The problem with that … is that the world is religious. And if it is the business of American diplomates, which it is, to defend American interests in a highly religious world, staying away from religion simply doesn’t make sense.”
Professor Robert Destro of Catholic University of America pointed out that we need to work with other countries to make them realize that granting their citizens more religious freedom will actually promote their own self-interests. Studies show that increased religious freedom leads to the absence of religious violence, economic growth, a reduction in corruption, a decrease in infant mortality, better health outcomes, more literacy, more empowerment of women, and more.
Professor Destro also made the case that America needs to help its own Muslim citizens present the benefits of religious freedom to their Muslim counterparts in the Middle East, because it’s obvious that someone of the same faith as them can make the case much more effectively than non-Muslims. As Dr. Farr pointed out, extremist ideologies cannot be destroyed with bullets, they must be destroyed by better ideas.
Don’t miss the full panel discussion.
Be sure to read FRC’s full analysis of the religious freedom/national security issue.