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Jim Schwarz: ERA is about abortion, not equality

A recent letter published in this paper criticized Rep. Dave Baker for voting against the Equal Rights Amendment.

Men and women already have equal standing and equal protection before the law and possess God-given rights which are delineated in the Bill of Rights. Laws already exist forbidding discrimination based on gender.

The Minnesota Human Rights Act, among other things, forbids employment discrimination based on gender.

The ERA is centrally about abortion. It would do the following:

• Eliminate all abortion restrictions including the federal partial birth abortion ban, legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy and end parental notification of minors seeking abortions.

• End conscience clauses for nurses, pharmacists, doctors and hospitals who do not want to facilitate abortions in any way.

• Threaten tax exemptions of private religious schools that do not believe abortion is moral and that discourage it when teaching students.

• ERA would also provide a new basis for abortion rights in the U.S. Constitution. Roe v. Wade is founded on an unwritten "right to privacy" assumption that is vulnerable in legal challenges. The ERA would insert a written, defined right based on sex discrimination into the U.S. Constitution, and thus provide a strong legal basis for overturning all abortion laws.

In voting against the ERA, Rep. Baker was reflecting the values of his district. The majority of people do not believe in the cruel dismemberment of pain-capable unborn children. The majority of people of this district do not want abortion through all nine months of pregnancy or infanticide.

They believe in parental involvement. They believe in the conscience rights for doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

They do not believe taxpayers, religious institutions and individuals should be required to fund acts which they find reprehensible or that they be forced to participate in acts which interfere with the practice of their religion.

If Ms. Bendickson or others truly believe they have been discriminated against with regard to education or employment on the basis of gender, I suggest they contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights at 651-539-1100 or 1-800-627-3529.

Jim Schwarz

New London

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