Friday, February 17, 2012

A long time coming - or not

I was in Washington, DC when the process of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States began. It was passed by Congress on March 22, 1972 and began the long uphill battle for ratification by the states. 

It had originally been written by Suffragist Leader, Alice Paul in 1923 so it had already been a long and arduous battle for what seemed to so many of us so simple an issue. It was argued that we would be giving up our protection under the law. Especially labor laws and draft laws. And we countered that if we had equal rights we could protect ourselves. In March of 1982 it was declared dead as it had failed to pass.

This March 22 it will have been forty years since the bill went to the states in the process to become the 27th amendment. The southern states essentially denied all women equality. I fortunately live in a state that ratified the short lived attempt to give women equality before the law.

I was abhorred by recent events led by the GOP and its Tea Party to once again extend our servitude. Men can get Viagra paid by their insurance companies but the majority of the same companies will not pay for birth control for women. And with national health insurance looming the GOP has made it very clear they do not want to pay for our PLAY. We are to take responsibility for ourselves. Well, guys we tried that. And you said we needed protection. And now you won't pay for that protection?

We are suppose to grow up and practice restraint, and yet in 1972 you argued we could not even make our own informed decisions about how much weight we could pick up (most women carrying twins were over the then legal limit) or how many hours we would work.

We still make way less than male counterparts but we must pay the $20 to $30 a month for birth control pills. The men don't want to pay for that. Cheaper than a whore frankly, boys. Not to mention child support. Oh, right you always try to side step that one even to the point that murder by spouse is the number one cause of death for pregnant women. And yet you call abortion murder and are still fighting to take away our right to a legal abortion. The extreme right has terrorized abortion doctors and clinics to the point it is almost safer to go back to the alley way abortionists of my youth.

I am past the age that reproduction politics should matter but I would love to be an equal to a man before the law before I die. Because it is not all about reproduction. Sexual discrimination still exists in housing, mortgages, car loans, credit cards, deposits for utilities, rental leases - the list goes on and on and on.

The recent debate over vagina politics has made it clear it is time to dust off that old ERA button and try it again ladies. Let's make this March 22nd a day for all men to remember. Just say NO to whatever they want.