GOP lawmakers block vote on ERA

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley/Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

House Republicans have once again blocked a vote over whether Arizona should ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

On a party-line vote Wednesday, lawmakers voted down a motion by Rep. Judy Schweibert, D-Phoenix, to HCR 2010 directly to the floor for a vote. She had to take that route because Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, refused to give the measure a hearing after it was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee which he chairs.

Rep. Jacqueline Parker, R-Mesa, the vice chair of the committee, said she sees no reason for the amendment.

She said that there already are sufficient laws to guarantee things like equal pay for women. Her fear is an alternate agenda.

“This is a back-door abortion bill,’’ she said, reciting fears that putting equal rights based on gender into the U.S. Constitution would effectively undermine efforts to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling saying women have the right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is viable.

Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, said that concern — and others — are off base, saying the measure contains just 23 words that say equality of rights under the law “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.’’

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