Padilla Urges Passage of Equal Rights Amendment in Light of Increasing Attacks on Women’s Rights￼
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the eve of Women’s History Month, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) underscored the need to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to ensure the constitution recognizes women as equal under law. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled “The Equal Rights Amendment: How Congress Can Recognize Ratification and Enshrine Equality in Our Constitution,” Padilla questioned Juliana Stratton, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and Kathleen M. Sullivan, Senior Counsel for Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Padilla opened his remarks by reiterating that the ERA is, and has always been, about addressing sex-based inequality. During his first line of questioning, he and Lieutenant Governor Stratton discussed how the ERA would remove ambiguity in the Constitution and would provide a constitutional safeguard against discrimination on the basis of sex. Following this, Padilla and Ms. Sullivan discussed how, while the ERA will achieve equality under law for women, it will not solve all issues related to women, like abortion.
- PADILLA: The ERA is, and always has been, about addressing sex-based inequality. For generations, women have had to fight for access to some of our most basic rights. And, in my view, last summer’s Dobbs opinion was significant. Across the country, Americans have made their opposition loud and clear that, and as we work to uplift their voices, we must ensure that we remember that what is at stake here, rights once recognized by the Supreme Court, and held dear by Americans, may no longer be safe unless they are enshrined in the Constitution.
[Lieutenant Governor Stratton] I want you to describe your perception of the future of equality in America and what the impact that ERA ratification could have on future generations.
- STRATTON: I think the most important thing that I want to emphasize is that the Equal Rights Amendment will remove ambiguity, and will make it abundantly clear that no one should be discriminated against on the basis of their sex.
- PADILLA: Question for Miss Sullivan. In your opinion, are judicial remedies like the equal protection clause, and the due process clause strong enough to protect a woman’s right to abortion access and care.
- SULLIVAN: Senator, the Equal Rights Amendment will guarantee that women are equal to men, it will not determine for all time difficult debates in our country, like debates over reproductive rights. Constitutional rights are always subject to a balance and I have no illusion that the ERA will end those debates. But Senator it will guarantee equality, it will guarantee equality that women can’t be treated as lesser than men.
Last year, Senator Padilla led a push calling on the Senate to remove the arbitrary deadline that prevents the formal adoption of the ERA. Senator Padilla also believes in a woman’s fundamental right to make her own health care decisions, and is a staunch advocate for women’s reproductive rights. As a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, he is fighting to protect access to abortion services throughout the United States.