Issue: H.J. Res. 79, Removing the deadline for the ratification of the equal rights amendment. Question: On Passage.
Result: Passed in House, 232 to 183, 15 not voting. Democrats only scored.
Freedom First Society: 1) H.J. Res. 79 is blatantly unconstitutional, attempting to revive the long-dead ERA with a simple majority vote (Article V requires a 2/3 majority of both Houses to propose amendments); 2) the ERA itself was a revolutionary attack on our Federal system, continuing the erosion of states rights, as with the 14th Amendment; and 3) H.J. Res. 79 was simply a Democratic campaign stunt, typical of Congress wasting its time with measures that have no possibility of becoming law.
Get the latest news and updates from Freedom First Society.
Because of the latter point, we do not score the Republicans for nixing this softball. But all the supporting Democrats deserve a red “x.”
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Congressional Research Service (CRS) Summary
As passed in the House (2/13/20):
“This joint resolution eliminates the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The amendment was proposed to the states in House Joint Resolution 208 of the 92nd Congress, as agreed to in the Senate on March 22, 1972. The amendment shall be part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.”
Freedom First Society Analysis: We will amplify each of our three objections, drawing heavily on the House debates in the Congressional Record.
1) H.J. Res. 79 is blatantly unconstitutional, attempting to revive the long-dead ERA with a simple majority vote (Article V requires a 2/3 majority of both Houses to propose amendments):
Two days earlier, on February 11th, by strict party line vote, the House passed H.Res. 844 the rule for consideration and passage of this measure, H.J. Res. 79. The rule itself was a deception.
First it embraced two completely different topics: 1) consideration of H.R. 2546 “Protecting America’s Wilderness Act” — a federal land grab (mostly in Colorado); and 2) consideration and passage of H.J. Res. 79 to remove the deadline for ERA ratification.
Particularly sneaky, passage of H.Res. 844 was deemed to also pass H.Res. 842 and remove it from challenge during the debate on ERA extension (H.J. Res. 79). The complete text of H.Res. 842 is as follows: “Resolved, That an affirmative vote of a majority of the Members present and voting, a quorum being present, shall be required on final passage of House Joint Resolution 79.”
From the Congressional Record, 2-11-20, re H.Res. 844, the rule for considering H.Res. 79 [Emphasis added]:
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona), member, House Committee on Rules: “Madam Speaker, to begin, I would like to clarify what H.J. Res. 79 is. It is not the equal rights amendment. It is a date change. The legislation is a joint resolution removing the deadline for ratification of the equal rights amendment in States that the amendment shall be valid and adopted as part of the Constitution whenever ratified by the legislatures of three-quarters of the States. Democrats say this is about equal rights for women. Well, I am a woman, and so I, obviously, support equal rights for women. But I oppose H.J. Res 79 for the following reasons:
“First: The bill is totally unconstitutional. When the ERA originally passed on March 22, 1972, Congress explicitly set a deadline for ratification stating that the amendment shall be valid when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within 7 years from the date of its submission by the Congress. That meant that the final deadline was March 22, 1979, almost 41 years ago. By the end of this initial deadline, only 35 of the 38 States needed had ratified it, so Congress with a simple majority vote, which is questionable, extended the deadline once to 1982, but no other States joined in ratification. Thus, the equal rights amendment was dead. It is also imperative to note that five of the 35 States rescinded their ratifications. So then the count was down to only 30 States.
“In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a legal opinion just last month reiterating that the ERA ratification timeline is expired. Ultimately, when the 1972 ERA’s deadline passed without ratification by three-fourths of the States, the proposed amendment expired and is, therefore, no longer pending. The 1972 ERA, therefore, can no longer be ratified because it no longer exists. In one of its works, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which we all turn to, states that the ERA formally died on June 30, 1982. The U.S. Supreme Court also dismissed all cases related to the ERA because it held the cases to be moot, saying that the ERA ratification date had expired.
“Regardless of one’s view on whether or not the equal rights amendment should be adopted, the fact remains that the equal rights amendment was not ratified by the necessary 38 States by the deadline set forth in the text of the amendment itself.
“Just last night, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, certainly not known as a conservative, said Virginia’s recent adoption of an ERA resolution was long after the deadline passed. She went on to say, ‘I would like to see a new beginning. I’d like it to start over. There’s too much controversy about latecomers. Virginia — long after the deadline passed. Plus, a number of States have withdrawn their ratification.’ Remember the five I talked about. ‘So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard States that said we’ve changed our minds?’ And deratified.
“In addition, the Democrats’ sneaky act to slip into this resolution language that would deem that a mere majority vote instead of the two-thirds vote needed on a constitutional amendment, has significant constitutional and legal ramifications. Should my Democratic colleagues wish to proceed with seeking to add the ERA to the Constitution, the appropriate method would be to follow the procedure outlined in the Constitution: Passage by a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Congress, followed by ratification by three-quarters of the States. And it seems as recently as last night, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg agrees.”
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Missouri): “Madam Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to oppose H.J. Res. 79. This resolution seeks to unconstitutionally remove the deadline for ratification of the equal rights amendment.
“In 1972, Madam Speaker, when I was 10 years old, Congress originally set the deadline for ratification at 7 years by two-thirds vote. Before the original time period expired, Congress then passed a 3-year extension, which also passed before the necessary number of States ratified the amendment.
“Today, 37 years after the constitutional time has expired, it is quite clear that, because of a new focus on a so-called right to taxpayer-funded abortion, the equal rights amendment does not have support from a two-thirds majority of Congress or, likely, from two-thirds of the States, certainly, as we have seen at least five States have already rescinded.”
2) the ERA itself was a revolutionary attack on our Federal system, continuing the erosion of states rights, as with the 14th Amendment:
The ERA would have interjected the Federal government into all kinds of domestic and social issues, in violation of the role the Founding Fathers mapped our for the Federal government. In addition, the nice-sounding ERA was designed to remove all legal distinctions between men and women and restructure society. even subjecting women to a future draft. Although promoted by revolutionary groups supporting the women’s liberation movement, the ERA also drew political support and funding from Establishment Insiders at the top, such as John D. Rockefeller, III and Nelson Rockefeller.
During the debates re H.J. Res. 79, opponents pointed out several significant problems with the resolution and shared a great deal of wisdom. But clearly no representative was willing to point to the conspiratorial forces driving the ERA or their totalitarian agenda. Right now, that critical perspective has to be supplied from outside government by informed activists organized under responsible leadership (e.g., Freedom First Society).
From the Congressional Record, 2-13-20, re H.J. Res. 79 [Emphasis added]:
Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-New York), Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary:“The ERA offers a basic and fundamental guarantee: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
“That is it. Very simple.
“In the years since it was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the House and the Senate, we have made great strides to secure that equality, including through existing case law decided under the14th Amendment.
“The ERA would enshrine those principles and take the final critical step of ensuring that laws disadvantaging women and gender minorities are subject to the most rigorous form of constitutional scrutiny.
“In recent years, we have seen a series of breakthroughs for women’s rights and gender equality. We have seen millions of women march in support of their rights and dignity as equal citizens. Through the #MeToo movement, we have had long-overdue and sometimes painful conversationsabout the violence and harassment that women and gender minorities experience, whether in the workplace, at home, or in schools and universities.”
Freedom First Society: Here Rep. Nadler employs revolutionary deception. He ignores the revolutionary organization and its real hidden goals behind orchestrated demonstrations and their chosen pretexts. And he advances that there have been honest conversations in the media about the deceptions.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif), sponsor of H.J. Res. 79: “The ERA is about equality. The ERA is about sisterhood, motherhood, survival, dignity, and respect.
“The world recognizes this. Of the 193 countries in the United Nations, 165 have put this kind of language in their constitutions, but not the United States of America.
“From the Women’s March to the #MeToo movement to the pink wave, the outrage we have seen among women is because we have been disrespected, devalued, and diminished in our society.And we are fed up.
“It is no wonder recent votes to ratify the ERA came in 2017, 2018, and 2020, because we want the ERA now. We have waited for almost a century for the ERA.
“I want to thank my Republican cosponsors of this resolution, including Congressmen Reed, Fitzpatrick, and Van Drew.”
Freedom First Society: Rep. Speier is clearly a tool of revolutionary deception. She ignores the revolutionary orchestration and agendas behind demonstrations she would have us believe are motivated by their purported pretexts. Does she want to suggest that women are better off in the 165 countries that have put ERA language in their constitutions? How was that uniformity orchestrated?
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona), member, House Committee on Rules: “The third reason I oppose this bill: If ratified, the ERA would be used by pro-abortion groups to undo pro-life legislation and lead to more abortions and taxpayer funding of abortions.
“But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at what pro-abortion groups have done and what they say.
“In 1998, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the State’s ERA required the State to fund abortions. NARAL Pro-Choice America, which supports abortions, asserted that the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion and would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws.
“In a 2019 letter to the House Judiciary Committee, the ACLU stated: The equal rights amendment could provide an additional layer of protection against restrictions on abortion.”
Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-Missouri): “I rise today to commend the women who have gone before us to celebrate the achievements that women have made and to reaffirm the fact that we are equal in the eyes of God and in law.
“Women make up 51 percent of the population, comprise over half of the college students, make up most of today’s medical and law school students and own the majority of new businesses.
“Women are not victims in need of validation. Little girls can be whatever they want to be, whether that be an astronaut, a doctor, a full-time mom working at home, or a member of Congress.
“In addition, Federal law and court precedent uphold our rights. That is something to applaud, and I do. However, today’s legislation is problematic on several fronts….
“Besides being unconstitutional and shredding State and Federal pro-life protections, the ERA would also erase decades of progress which have provided opportunities for women, advance women’s progress through Federal programs, and secure necessary protections for women and girls.
“How? By incorporating gender identity in the definition of sex, jeopardizing private spaces for women, girls’ sports programs, and women’s educational institutions.
“The ERA endangers laws, programs, and funding designed to benefit women providing a pathway for legal challenges to welfare programs, grants for battered women’s shelters, efforts to bolster women participating in STEM programs, as well as State laws governing child support, alimony, and custody. These outcomes are anything but pro women.
“Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no.’”
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), member, House Committee on the Judiciary: “Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution.
“Listening to people on the other side say that there is a cornucopia of benefits awaiting women should the ERA become a part of the Constitution. I am here to ask Members on both sides of the aisle to look past what looks nice on a bumper sticker or a 40-second sound bite to realize that there are going to be many consequences that will hurt women should this be ratified. I will just talk about insurance, because insurance is regulated by the States.
“Girls get substantially lower rates on auto insurance because they are better drivers. With the ERA and the State regulation, that would become unconstitutional, and girls are going to have to pay boy drivers’ rates for auto insurance, which really does not reflect the actuarial exposure of that at all.
“Secondly, look at life insurance. Women live longer than men and, as a result, in life insurance, also regulated by the States, you see women’s rates being lower than men’s rates becoming unconstitutional, and women are going to be paying more to life insurance companies for the coverage that they decide on.
“I could go on and on and on.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), member, House Committee on the Judiciary: “I rise enthusiastically to support H.J. Res. 79 and to say to my colleagues there is no constitutional prohibition for passing this.
“We are grandly involved because this is the 1972 passage by the State of Texas of the equal rights amendment. And here, in 1977, Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug were in Houston at the 1977 National Women’s Conference that our predecessor, Barbara Jordan, was at. Let us pass H.J. Res. 79, because, as Abigail Adams said, let’s remember the ladies.”
Freedom First Society: Rep. Lee may not be aware, but Communists were heavily involved in the women’s movement, and not because they were interested in women’s rights, but because they saw it as an opportunity to advance totalitarian government.
During the 70’s, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Bella Abzug led a demonstration down New York’s Fifth Avenue, behind a banner reading “International Women’s Day Coalition — March 8, 1975.” Among the 50 or so “women’s groups” represented were Puerto Rican Socialist Party and the Communist Party.
In her book, It Changed My Life: Writings on Woman’s Movement, Friedan wrote that as a college student she frequently went to “Marxist discussion groups and rallies….” At the Women’s Strike for Equality march in 1970, she concluded an ERA speech by saying, “We are all the Karl Marxes of this revolution.”
As recorded in the Congressional Record for October 12, 1971, Rep. Bella Abzug stated: “The equal rights amendment would make voluntary, as well as compulsory, military service available to women and men on the same basis….” [Emphasis added.]
Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas): “Madam Speaker, we have heard my Democratic colleagues say that passing the equal rights amendment is necessary to secure basic rights under the law for women. Not only is this untrue, it obscures a fundamental fact. This ERA actually denies the most basic human right: the right to life. This ERA uses gender equality as a smokescreen to create an unlimited constitutional right to abortion.
“Instead of working to craft legislation that protects women’s rights without trampling on the right to life, Democrats have put forward, today, an unconstitutional, partisan measure.
“Not only would this result in on-demand abortions across all 50 States, but it would also clear the way to provide taxpayer-funded abortions throughout all 9 months of pregnancy, costing millions of dollars every year.
“This measure is not about advancing women’s rights, especially as women across the country, Republicans and Democrats alike, are increasingly horrified by the practice of late-term abortion and by recent comments made in New York and Virginia that lifesaving treatment should be denied to some newborns.
“Allowing women to discard their unborn children at taxpayer expense is not ensuring gender equality. It is not protecting women. It is not empowering women. It is not providing women equal pay for equal work. It is simply another step down the path of devaluing all human life and dignity. Madam Speaker, I oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to vote ‘no’ on this measure.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House: “This is a historic day, a happy day, as the House takes action to move our Nation closer to our founding ideal that all are created equal. I salute Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her leadership on this resolution and for her lifetime of work to advance equality in America….
“Let me also salute Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, our longtime lead sponsor of the equal rights amendment in the House, for her great leadership, and Chairman Nadler, the members of the Judiciary Committee, and all the Members who came to Congress committed to finishing this fight for the equal rights amendment….
“Fifty years ago, soon after becoming the first African American woman to serve in the Congress, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm stood on this House floor to urge passage of the ERA, calling it ‘one of the most clear-cut opportunities we are likely to have to declare our faith in the principles that shaped our Constitution.’
“But today, in this year that marks the centennial of women having the right to vote, it is a shameful reality that the equal rights amendment still has not been enshrined in the Constitution. As a result, millions of American women still face inequality under the law and injustice in their careers and lives….
“Madam Speaker, I urge a ‘yes’ vote.”
3) H.J. Res. 79 was simply a Democratic campaign stunt, typical of Congress wasting its time with measures that have no possibility of becoming law:
The original ERA was ratified by many states when the ERA was miscast, according to its name, as merely about equal rights for women. While that understanding was widespread, few legislators could withstand the pressure to pass the ERA. But a tremendous grassroots campaign led by several organizations created widespread understanding of the real implications of the ERA and ratifications stopped, with even 5 states rescinding their earlier ratifications.
But that was several decades ago, and much of the public is again vulnerable to the Democrat claim that opposition to the ERA is a stand against women. And so the Democrats arranged to force Republicans to vote on H.J. Res. 79. In doing so, we see much of the same deceptive shallow rhetoric employed that created the initial momentum for the ERA:
From the Congressional Record, 2-11-20, re H.Res. 844, the rule for considering H.Res. 79 [Emphasis added]:
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.), member, House Committee on Rules: “In this year, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in this country, it defies logic that we are still in a holding pattern when it comes to recognizing the equal rights of women under the United States Constitution….
“The ERA had broad bipartisan support from Members of Congress and Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Ford but was unable to cross the finish line in the brief time allowed.
“Why the ERA did not become a constitutional amendment in the seventies is up for debate, but it was in large part due to vicious, antifeminist rhetoric and actions by conservative activists who sought to trample on the rights of all women to work for an equal wage, to control their own reproductive health, and to participate as equal members of our society, in the name of protecting the traditional values of a privileged few.
“In the years that followed, courts have recognized and protected various aspects of women’s equality under the law through interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. But as even Justice Antonin Scalia famously recognized, nothing in our Constitution, as currently written, forbids discrimination on the basis of sex….
“The equal rights amendment would permanently and explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex….
“We hear from the other side of the aisle that discrimination against women is already illegal. This argument might be more persuasive if it was not being presented by a party that is, if anything, less diverse than it was in the 1970s. When a party reflects a predominantly White, male, and conservative voter base, it is easy to see why that party might not understand the need for basic additional constitutional protections.
“Women continue to face obstacles to full equality, including unequal pay, pregnancy discrimination, sexual and domestic violence, and inadequate healthcare access….
“Women are paid less than their male counterparts for equal work. Women are treated differently in job interviews and can be determined a burden for a company if they are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant….
Freedom First Society: Scanlon’s claims point to the dangerous revolutionary power grab in the ERA. She advances the politically expedient collectivist viewpoint that government is the source of a nation’s progress.
But a federal government powerful enough to force society to accept that men and women are equal in all areas, including pregnancy, or to ignore that many women leave the workforce to raise a family is powerful enough to oppress us all.
The ERA controversy spawned a slogan, mostly now forgotten: “Free men are not equal and equal men are not free.” And we don’t want the federal government to require that both sexes share the same bathrooms in the name of liberal “political correctness.”
Rep. Scanlon resumes: “Although the ERA was passed with bipartisan support, and strong support from Republican women, we saw in the Rules Committee last night and in debate about this rule and bill that the spirit of the late Phyllis Schlafly has overtaken today’s Republican Party, which now seeks to cloak deep-seated misogyny in anti-choice rhetoric.
“Passing the equal rights amendment is long overdue. I am excited to bepart of a Democratic majority that will remove this arbitrary deadline for ratification and finally allow States to exercise their constitutional authority to pass this critical and fundamentally American amendment.”
Freedom First Society: But Scanlon knows that the Senate will not pass H.J. Res. 79. So it will die at the end of this Congress.
Rep. Scanlon concludes with more demand for federal management of the states and society: “It is necessary that Congress consider this amendment to the Constitution to help women achieve pay equality, require States to intervene in cases of domestic violence and sexual harassment, and guard against discrimination based on pregnancy and motherhood.”
From the Congressional Record, 2-13-20, re H.J. Res. 79 [Emphasis added]:
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Georgia), Ranking Member, House Committee on the Judiciary: “Madam Speaker, I am prepared to close, and I yield myself such time as I may consume….
“I was really worried at one point in the discussion that it was said on multiple occasions that there was no protection in the Constitution for women. I was almost scared for a moment that the 14th Amendment had been repealed and I didn’t know it.
“It is in there and still is in there. I checked just a few minutes ago. It is safe….
“But, at the end of the day, the question really becomes: Why are we doing this? Why are we bringing this forth when there is absolutely no legal precedent, no constitutional precedent, no anything out there — including some of the founders who actually started this whole process 40-plus years ago, who said this is not the way you do it….
“But let me also say — and it has been talked about a great deal, so I think we just need to come to the real scenario why this is happening. It is not that we believe it will actually happen. For anybody here who believes that today is actually going to put it in part of the Constitution, that is not going to happen.
“So what is it? It is a political nod to the understanding of those who are speaking for this.
“As we have heard earlier, NARAL Pro-Choice America: ‘With its ratification, the ERA would reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws.’…
“Codirector of Reproaction: ‘Abortion restrictions amount to sex discrimination because they single out people for unfair treatment on the basis of sex.’
“The senior counsel of National Women’s Law Center: ‘The ERA would help create a basis for challenging abortion restrictions.’
“This is what this is actually about. This is what the basis has needed because there has been a shifting in this country to understand that, in our opinion — in the opinion of many — abortion is simply murder in the womb. It is not about life.
“It is interesting, we are talking about the rights of women today — which, again, this bill doesn’t have anything to do with — but we are not concerned if the young women in the womb are even able to have a birthday. That is not a concern.
“So what would happen from these folks who are supporting your resolution today? Why do they want it? Because it gives a claim, from start to finish, unfettered abortion.
“So what does that mean? That means let’s bring back partial-birth abortion, which, if I have to remind anybody here, means the delivery of the child all the way until the moment the chin comes almost out, and then actually crushing their skull. That is what that is.
“If that is a right we are protecting, I don’t want any part of it, and neither do most Americans. They don’t want a part of it. But that is one of those restrictions that will be laid back.
“It would also continue to allow unlimited abortions in any State for any reason, including sex selection.
“It is interesting that we would talk about this today, the ERA, and use this, yet a family could choose to abort a child because it is a male or a female. Let’s be honest about this.
“But the bottom line for me, what really bothers me the most about when it is unlimited, unfettered access to abortion that this bill opens up, if it were to have passed, is one that hits close to home for me.
“You see, a European country recently stated that a geneticist in Iceland said: We have almost basically eradicated Down syndrome people.
“I thought to myself, for a second: That would be great. I mean, if we could actually remove Down syndrome and help those and cure that, that would be an amazing medical discovery for all people. Except there is one portion. “Do you know how they have done it? Through genetic testing and killing the children in the womb. They don’t even let them have a birthday.
“One Icelandic counselor counsels mothers as follows: “This is your life. You have the right to choose how your life will look. She said: We don’t look at abortion as murder. We look at it as a thing that we ended.
“Do you want to know why this has opened up, America? This is why.
“And for those of us like myself who have a disabled child, I do not want to hear that we are protecting disabled rights and other rights when we are not even allowing them to be born in certain arenas. Every day, I get a text on this phone. It is from my daughter. Jordan is 27 years old. She has spina bifida. She cannot walk and has never taken a step, and I believe it probably, given the medical condition, will not happen this side of Heaven. But she rolls and she smiles. She goes to work 3 days a week. She gets herself up early to put her clothes on and take her shower and get a bus that she calls, and she goes to work.
“The folks in Sweden, do you know what they want to do? Kill her. Because she is not as valuable, as a Down syndrome child is not as valuable.
“Do you want to open this Pandora’s box of no abortion restrictions? Then own what you are doing.
“But when Jordan texts me, she texts me: Good morning, Daddy. I love you. How was your day?
“Madam Speaker, when we found out 27 years ago — a week ago, 27 years ago — that Jordan was going to have spina bifida, we were a young couple just happy that God gave us a child, and to find out that she had a disability only kept our hearts more in tune to what God had given.
“My wife went to school the next week, and she was telling the teacher about what was going on. She said: We are trying to figure out where we need to go to have Jordan, help when she is born and get some more medical attention.
“This person looked at her and said: ‘You know you have choices, correct?’
“And my wife said: Well, yes. There is Northside Hospital and others. She said: ‘No. Oh, no, dear. You don’t have to go through with this. That is your choice.’
“In other words, as my wife looked at her and said: ‘You’re talking about my baby.’
“You see, when we go down this path, don’t flower this bill up. Look at the ones who actually talk about it and say this is an open door to abortion on demand, with no restrictions, no government interference– in fact, government pays for it.
“But before you do that, America, as we look around, I want you to think of the picture on the new Gerber baby ad of the young person with Down syndrome, who is now the face of Gerber baby food. If he was in Iceland, he would have been one of those that, as it said: Oh, we ended.
“Think about my daughter, who, when we allow it out there for people who are struggling — and to get news that you have a child with a disability, that is one of the most amazingly devastating things that you can hear because you don’t know what the future holds.
“But what you do know is life is a gift from God, and that it is my joy to take care of her. We had 30 major surgeries before she was 5 years old, three of which were 9 hours in length. Tell me her life doesn’t matter.
“For someone who doesn’t have the possibility of understanding, and they are given a choice because they have a disability, and somebody tells them and gets to them and says: Don’t worry. Disabilities are bad. Just go ahead and end that life, and go on with your life.
“This is what this opens up.
“So don’t give me a bill that is going nowhere for the reasons that have been given. The true reasons are found in your own supporters. The true reasons are found in what we know to be true.
“When you understand what this is about, then I will stand till I have no more breath in my body for the rights of those who can’t speak for themselves. It is amazing to me that it was said: What would I be saying to my daughter if I voted against this?
“I would be saying to Jordan, as I will: Jordan, the 14th Amendment is still there. Protections in law are still there. And by the way, restrictions on abortion will not be done away with, and your life matters.
“So if you want a picture of this, picture Jordan.
“Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.”