By Delegate Rob Bloxom
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Hi, this is Delegate Rob Bloxom reporting about a hot topic from the 2019 Virginia General Assembly with this week’s Capitol report. This week’s topic is the question of Virginia ratifying the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA). Let me start by saying, everyone agrees men and women deserve equal rights. These rights are already guaranteed with the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Equal pay for equal work is a Federal Law that has been in place since the mid-seventies.
When it comes to the ERA, the deadline, which was in 1982, has long passed for the states to ratify the amendment. Voting for this would have no real significance, except for the likelihood that multiple court cases would ensue costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
After going through the normal committee process, like every other piece of legislation does, the legislation was voted down meaning the “ERA” was effectively dead for the year. However, at the eleventh hour of the session, a number of freshman Democrats tried to change the rules and bypass the committee structure. No matter which way I vote on an issue, I will not forego the rules of the House of Delegates, just to get my way. This is truly a Washington style play that has not served our country well. To that end, the vote that actually came to the floor for consideration was to change the rules. I voted against changing the rules of the House.
Looking at the evidence, I believe the ERA would hurt women, and let me explain why. Should the ERA be passed in Virginia, many of our laws and regulations would likely become unconstitutional. For example, the ERA in other states has prevented states from placing restrictions on late-term abortions. The exact language the ERA resolution uses is the same language used in Alaska, New Mexico and Connecticut’s constitutional ERA amendment. Courts ruled in those states that tax-payer money could be used to fund abortions and that states could not prohibit late-term abortions. Why? Because since abortions are something only women can have, the states could not pass a law that was solely directed at women.
Truthfully, this renewed push for the passage of the ERA is driven by groups like Planned Parenthood and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) to increase access to late-term taxpayer funded abortions.
Other impacts from the ERA include the elimination of the Violence Against Women Act, Title 9 Sports Equalization, and the preferential treatment of women in government business contracts because all of these would be considered unconstitutional. In addition to these, women could become eligible for military draft.
For me, what it simply came down to was I was not willing to take the risk of having a court decide that residents of Virginia be forced to fund late-term abortions with their tax dollars.
As always, I am truly honored to represent the 100th District. You may reach me at my home office in Mappsville at 824-3456, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook @electbloxomfordelegate if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.