Yes, it’s heartening that cutting the genitals of young girls is on the decline in Kenya. Yes, it’s wonderful that Julie Burkhart, the woman who runs the sole abortion clinic in Kansas won her harassment case against the man who has been stalking her for years. And yes, it is celebratory that the Philadelphia City Council voted to grant domestic workers and in-home caregivers, mostly women, the right to paid time off benefits.
But the clouds aren’t silver lined in France where femicide had become an epidemic. Nor should women in the United States spend too much time rejoicing over the news that Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, doing so after its imposed 7 years deadline for passage. ERA’s resuscitation will fall into the hands of the courts. And that is the sticking point.
After Donald Trump’s impeachment, after a raucous beginning for the Democratic Primary and after what’s likely to be a bellicose Presidential election, the public may awake to discover that whether Trump wins or loses the 2020 election, he has spent his four years in office stacking the courts with ultra-conservative judges who are poised to set women’s rights back decades. (“Stacking the Courts,” by Michele Goodwin, MS., Winter 2020, pgs. 30-33.)
Not only is Roe v, Wade in jeopardy, but prior victories are waiting in the wings to be retested: a challenge to Title V11’s ban against sexual discrimination; the Texas law which puts an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion, and efforts to reduce a woman’s access to birth control. This list is illustrative of the dangers ahead, not exhaustive.
For every step women take to achieve equal rights, those exist who stand ready to throw stones in their path, eager to return them to the status of chattel. And yet, while the ERA threatens to incinerate before our eyes, Democrats are busy applying a purity test to one another regarding left versus moderate thinking. Seeing the chaos within their ranks, I am reminded of ancient days, when Rome burned while those plagued by self-interest squabbled among themselves.