Why We Need the ERA!

The ERA would end women’s second-class citizenship by finally giving women equal standing in the federal CONSTITUTION, thus would ensure women’s equal TREATMENT under all laws, regulations, and policies of state and federal governments.

The ERA would afford women equal treatment under the DUE PROCESS CLAUSE and the EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE, which affect all other rights including everything from obtaining a dog license to the First Amendment, LIBERTY, etc. These fundamental constitutional rights ensure that all people enjoy the most basic freedoms: autonomy, self-determination, authority over the self,  bodily integrity, etc. Without the ERA, women cannot be assured that any rights will apply equally to them.

The ERA would require courts to use strict scrutiny when reviewing claims involving different treatment of women. Without the ERA, courts are allowed to use only intermediate scrutiny, which, unlike strict scrutiny, permits infringements on rights.

The ERA would protect abortion rights and literally save women’s lives by making it clear in the text of the Constitution, for the first time in history, that women are fully equal persons who can no longer be subjected to unequal treatment under any laws, including abortion laws.

The ERA would allow us to fight and reverse any sex discriminatory state or federal law, regulation or policy. The ERA specifically states that the Congress may pass legislation to enforce the ERA, which would mean Civil Rights laws would be amended to ensure women’s equal legal stature. Without the ERA women do not enjoy equal treatment under civil rights laws. For example, aside from employment, women are excluded from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. ERA would fix this

Under the ERA and strict scrutiny, women would still enjoy separate spaces and sex-based preferences that serve a compelling state interest, such as a need to address a history of discrimination.

The ERA would allow women to sue the government for unequal enforcement of rape and domestic violence laws, bias against women in family court, and courts enforcing laws requiring equal pay for women would have to construe the word equal to mean actually equal. Without the ERA courts can interpret laws requiring equal treatment to mean something less than fully equal. The ERA would enable women to assert stronger legal arguments against the commodification of women by surrogacy, pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking.  

According to Wendy Murphy, attorney for Equal Means Equal, “The ERA is more desperately needed in 2022 than ever before because of Dobbs” (the decision that overturned Roe). “Women’s pervasive status as second-class citizens enabled the Supreme Court to cavalierly take away all personhood rights of pregnant women. Women are literally the lifeblood of this nation, yet they are vulnerable to dystopian court rulings solely because they lack basic equality in the Constitution. The only solution is to fix the Constitution. The ERA does that.”

The ERA was ratified by the 38th state in January of 2020 and is now the law of the land, but, just like the Trump Administration, the Biden Administration is blocking the ERA from being published in the Constitution. Biden is also fighting against the ERA in federal court the same way Trump did.    #PublishERANow!

Four lawsuits are currently pending in NY, MI, RI and DC that seek to validate the ERA. The DC case is scheduled for oral arguments at:

DC Circuit Court of Appeals on September 28th.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: 

  • Come to DC and help us protest Joe Biden’s opposition to Women’s equality. WE DEMAND EQUALITY NOW!!
  • Call/text the White House Comment Line: 800-456-1111
  • Tweet #PublishERANow!  @SCOTUS and @JoeBiden
  • Call your Senators and urge them to demand Biden publish the ERA!!

Distribute our ERA-FIST brochure

WE SUPPORT RISEUP4ABORTION RIGHTS!!

We wish to voice our full-throated support for the group, RiseUp4AbortionRights and commend them for leading the fight against the reprehensible Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.  RiseUp4Abortion Rights has been on the ground working for years to build grassroots resistance to the attempt by the religious right and extremist politicians to pass restrictive, punitive laws regarding abortion and we wish to acknowledge them specifically as the driving force demanding the right to abortion with no apologies!  We agree with their core message, that this is a fight for women’s lives, and that we need to exercise solidarity and sisterhood, get in the streets, and not wait for elections!! We wish to thank Sunsara Taylor, Merle Hoffman, and Lori Sokol for their leadership and for calling for unity of all women’s groups and people of conscience to join the fight!!

Read the Open Letter for Unified Action

Demand Legal Abortion Nationwide

Sign up for RiseUp4AbortionRights Actions

WE DEMAND NOTHING LESS THAN FULL EQUALITY AND ABORTION ON DEMAND, NO APOLOGIES!!

Well, we knew this was coming.  The wrongheaded, misogynist decision by the highest court today to overturn Roe v. Wade was expected, but still is a brutal blow to the basic human rights of half the population.  Such a blatant attempt to restrict women’s autonomy, agency, and freedom could only be accomplished in a system devoted to the institution of patriarchy and promotion of male supremacy.  The court showed its callous disregard for the suffering and brutalization of women and girls in its 6-3 decision to upend 50 years of precedent, ending an ugly week of attacking the separation of church and state, elevating gun rights over human rights and public safety, with the disastrous decision to dismantle Roe.  As one female abortion protester’s sign read, “Guns have more rights than I do.”  As do churches, one might add.

Apparently the current Supreme Court thinks it knows best and is above the law, but it is in error.  This court is an illegitimate travesty of injustice by any rational person’s standard, completely out of touch with the majority of the populace who want legal, safe abortion, more gun control (not less), and which is increasingly secular. It is time that we consider imposing strict standards of conduct, eliminate lifetime appointments, expand the number of justices, institute citizen oversight and input into the selection process, and facilitate and streamline impeachment procedures in order to be able to recall justices who defy the Constitution, disregard decades of legal precedent, and substitute spiteful partisanship and sanctimonious religiosity for fairness.

It’s past time that we women stand up and seize our rightful place of honor and respect, and that we demand full citizenship by inclusion in the founding document of this nation, the Constitution, that we have earned as the Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified and is now law.  All that’s needed is for the Biden Administration to stop giving lip service to women’s rights, get off their collective derriere and publish the ERA!  Legislation is needed to protect women’s reproductive rights as well, but with the ERA in the Constitution, we can adjudicate all the unfair laws at the local, state, and federal level, including abortion restrictions, and we are on much firmer ground than with only legislation.

One good thing about this ruling, it has stirred the sleeping Tiger that is WOMAN, and WE WON’T GO BACK, WE WON’T GROVEL, WE WON’T ASK PERMISSION, WE DEMAND NOTHING LESS THAN FULL EQUALITY AND ABORTION ON DEMAND, NO APOLOGIES!!

DEFEND ABORTION RIGHTS – MARCH ON MAY 14th!!!

In the wake of the horrifying Politico leaked draft Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs vs. Jackson case, placing Roe vs. Wade in immediate jeopardy, FIST urges all women and their male allies to join the beginning fight back in peaceful protests to defend the right of women to control our own reproductive capacity and our own lives.

The 1973 Roe decision was not a gift from on high by powerful males in the Supreme Court, but the result of the organizing and mass struggle of a powerful independent movement for women’s liberation that emerged in the late 1960’s. We can secure our rights in the same way we won them, by relying on ourselves, not the politicians, and by pouring into the streets and building our independent movement.

We should demand that the Supreme Court uphold Roe, that Congress immediately pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, that President Biden register the Equal Rights Amendment that will put sex-based protection in the U.S. Constitution, and that all anti-abortion laws in every state be repealed. We join with Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights in demanding ABORTION ON DEMAND AND WITHOUT APOLOGY!

Please join the national protests called by Rise Up culminating in united actions on May 14th! Checked the Rise Up website for more details. Take a FIST Abortion Flyer with you!

In the words of Christabel Pankhurst: “Remember the dignity of your womanhood, Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us.”

Texas Abortion FightBack

At the FIST forum on abortion rights last week we heard from Merle Hoffman, founder and CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center in NY, that clinics can register with various abortion funds to serve women who cannot afford the procedure or need to travel long distances to obtain the care they need.  The severe restrictions in Texas have increased the need for donations to abortion funds. Choices has already served more than a dozen women from Texas.  With sheer grit, abortion funds persist in the state despite the vigilante law that encourages citizens to turn in anyone helping a woman get an abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy.

The National Women’s Law Center has identified the following groups already on the ground helping to keep access to abortion in Texas.  We encourage donations.

 

FIST MEMBERS JOIN MARCHES FOR ABORTION RIGHTS

On October 2nd, FIST members participated in the abortion rights marches in San Diego, Chicago, New York, and other places. Here are some brief reports:

New York:
A group of gender critical feminists (FIST members and others) met beforehand and held signs with the word Woman on them. There were seven of us. We noticed other people with signs with the word Woman or with wire hangers. This was despite the fact that the Women’s march organizers In NY had instructed participants not to use the word “women” or the wire hanger symbol. I brought a wire hanger which I wore as a prop. We gave out a few flyers. The rally was well attended but a lot smaller than the prior Women’s Marches in January over the past few years..

Chicago:

The marchers’ signs carried the original words of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices.” They were clear, saying we’re not going back. Not in Texas, not anywhere else. Over 2000 turned out for the rally and march Saturday, for abortion justice. The action, sponsored by Women’s March Chicago, Planned Parenthood, and Chicago Abortion Fund, mobilized women young and old, whose signs and chants reflected their anger and resistance: “Pro-choice+ pro-women”; “I am a woman, not a womb”; “Abortion is Health Care”; “Safe abortion for All”; “Down with the patriarchy”; “My Body, My Rights”; “Her Body, “Her Rights”; “Reproductive Freedom is the beginning of Women’s Liberation” were among the slogans on handmade banners.

Whatever limits were imposed in other cities (like NY) This crowd wasn’t having it. Most speakers talked about defending women’s right to abortion.  FIST supporters in Chicago marched with friends and circulated our statement on abortion rights.


San Diego:


We carried our beautiful FIST banner (“Our bodies, our spaces, our sex-based rights”) in the spirited march of several thousand along the waterfront, and distributed over 100 fliers containing FIST’s abortion statement and some FIST brochures. One woman came up to us and offered to take photos of our banner. The word “woman” was not buried at this event.

Women, their rights and nothing less. Men, their rights and nothing more!

“On the Basis of Sex”: Why the ERA is still important for women and girls

Why do women still need the ERA? Won’t the placing of the word “sex” in the U.S. Constitution and providing for legal equality between the sexes just be used against us and provide no real benefit? Some, like our sisters in WoLF, think so. We think they are dead wrong on this one.


First we need to understand our past. The eagerness and utter blindness in which so many progressives have betrayed their principles and sold out the interests of women and girls in favor of a sex-denying gender identity ideology is not unprecedented in history. After the Civil War, the Abolitionist movement, the male comrades of the early suffragists and First Wave feminists betrayed their sisters by insisting that women, both Black and White, wait for our rights, and that only Black males should have their rights recognized. They ended up putting the word “male” in the Constitution for the first time, in the Fourteenth Amendment. Women were now explicitly non-citizens.

This split the movement, weakened both the feminist and anti-racist struggles, and led to some feminists incorporating racist ideology into their campaigns and for the first time opposing universal suffrage. This betrayal also delayed the victory for women’s suffrage until 1920. But, guess what, the word “male” is still in the Fourteenth Amendment, the Amendment that provides due process and equal protection of the laws. The Equal Rights Amendment is in part about a long overdue correction, to treat sex discrimination with the same seriousness and status as race discrimination under the highest law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.

Race and national origin discrimination claims benefit from what is called “strict scrutiny”–it is far easier under the Fourteenth Amendment to challenge discriminatory laws and practices based on race than on sex–and to do so everywhere in the country. And women still suffer from a ton of such practices. One of the biggest aspect of female oppression is we are poor and grossly underpaid. Poverty means that women often are forced to stay with abusive male partners or are vulnerable to being prostituted in order for them and their children to survive. We still have a largely sex-segregated workplace, with “men’s” jobs having higher status and pay. Women who entered the trades in the late 1970’s, were forced out a few years later largely as a result of sexual harassment. White women who work full-time earn 78 cents to every dollar a man earns. For women of color it is far less. Women are over 62% of minimum wage workers.

And even in female-dominated professions, men make more than women do, with women nurses paid 10% less than the males, and women lawyers earning 83 cents on the dollar compared to their male colleagues. While we have laws against discrimination in employment and wage discrimination they have loopholes or may not be enforced. And these laws could be weakened or repealed at any time. A Constitutional Amendment has much more staying power.

Or take pregnant women workers. Despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnant women, especially those in low paid physically demanding jobs, are routinely fired or forced off the job. They are treated far worse than employees covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act suffering from a variety of medical conditions. Putting sex in the U.S. Constitution would make it far easier for those women to make their case.

The Equal Rights Amendment would give women an additional hook to challenge male violence against women in the universities and in the military. And women being denied access to contraception could challenge the double standard that allows Hobby Lobby to refuse to cover contraception while covering Viagra. And can it not be argued that it is sex discrimination for vasectomies to be perfectly legal and funded while abortion is not funded and instead even treated as a crime as many states are trying to do?

But what of the downside, that women-only spaces and programs might be eliminated? First, this is already happening under Title IX and in other areas of civil rights law, and through regulation, without the ERA. Should we then repeal Title IX or Title VII because the sex discrimination provisions can be used to eliminate the separate spaces and programs that women need? No, we need to fight against the use of “gender identity” to remove sex-based rights and we need to do so with or without the ERA.


Strict scrutiny doesn’t mean no distinction is possible. There is extensive case law holding that distinctions meant to address past discrimination of a historically disadvantaged group are allowed, or where there is a compelling reason to treat the groups differently. Female-only spaces and programs, including women-only scholarships, colleges, shelters, clinics, and training programs have compelling reasons justifying them, based on privacy, male violence, addressing past discrimination and other grounds. Same goes for women’s sports programs. The fight to defend affirmative action, for example, has been going on for decades and this is an area where men of color and women’s interests as a sex coincide.


It is quite telling that President Biden is all-in for eroding sex-based rights through support for an un-amended Equality Act and issuing Executive Orders that would have gender identity override sex, but can’t manage to tell the Archivist to publish the ERA. Women must expect and demand more.


It has been nearly one hundred years since the first version of the ERA was introduced in Congress in 1923 as the Lucretia Mott Amendment.  A century is too long to wait for equal rights based on sex under the Constitution. EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT NOW!

SISTERHOOD IS GLOBAL: The Feminist Strikes in Poland

Feminists in Struggle proudly hosts a panel of grassroots radical feminist activists from Poland to speak about their struggle.

About this event

Hear first hand reports about the challenges facing Polish radical feminists as they fight their anti-abortion right wing government on the one hand and gender ideologues on the other.

Saturday, June 5th, 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time, 1:00 p.m. Central time; 2:00 p.m. Eastern time.

SPEAKERS and TOPICS:

Hanka Kulikowska: “Broken dream of reproductive freedom. The rise and fall of Women’s Strike.”

Natalia: “Why Poland – a Catholic conservative country is embracing trans ideology? A paradox that’s not really a paradox.”

V.L.: “Lesbians in Poland, the law vs. real life.”

Michalina Bychenko: “Fandon, anime and cosplay culture influence on trans-identified and nonbinary identified popularity in Poland.”

Aleksandra: Radfem and left wing political parties in Poland.

Register for event

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY March 8, 2021

International Women’s Day marks the second anniversary of the founding of Feminists in Struggle.  We have accomplished a lot in two short years, despite living through a pandemic this past year.  We have connected with other radical feminists, grown our organization and our network, and raised awareness and educated women with our Feminist Forums on topics such as defending women’s spaces from male violence, the ERA, the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act, reproductive rights, and women’s sports.

We face more challenges ahead, fighting to preserve female-only spaces and programs that are our lifeline, demanding that the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act be adopted; working to get the ERA finally enshrined into the Constitution; defending abortion rights against the forces of the Religious Right and a conservative Supreme Court which is on the precipice of reversing Roe vs. Wade; fighting against pervasive male violence and the exploitation of our bodies and the glorification of prostitution and commercial surrogacy; dealing with the desperate poverty and greater burdens imposed on more and more women; and defending our right to think, speak, and organize as a sex without being threatened with violence or being fired from our jobs.

The good news is that we women, half the human race, the mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters of all of humanity, subordinated by males through many millennia, are beginning once again to awake from slumber.  And once we open our eyes and find our voices, no one can shut our eyes or silence us.

The radical feminist movement that FIST is building along with many others is still small but we are now everywhere, in every corner of the globe. We are growing, and compared to a few years ago, more and more of us, despite the threats against us, are speaking out. Today there was a protest in Washington DC against Biden’s female-erasing Executive Order and to demand our sex-based rights. FIST was there, carrying our banner.  There are weekly international seminars by the Women’s Human Rights Campaign (of which FIST is a proud member) every single week, drawing 400 women from many countries; the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights now has over 15.600 individual signatories, from 129 countries, in collaboration with 314 organizations; the ERA was ratified; the LGB Alliance was launched; Argentina legalized abortion; legislation protecting women’s sports is being introduced in legislatures; and lawsuits are beginning to be filed by de-transitioners like Keira Bell.  The tide is beginning to turn.

And while it is not surprising that many of us are feeling battle weary, overwhelmed by the seemingly endless reach of our two enemies–those who would erase us and those who would enslave us, or feeling deeply saddened and demoralized by the sight of so many young girls mutilating their bodies and denying their sex, we need only remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants, suffragists like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Christabel Pankhurst, and Alice Paul; and our sisters of the Second Wave, some we have lost like Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, and the many others still marching shoulder-to-shoulder with us.  They never gave up. Neither should we!

FIST reaches our hands across generations and in solidarity with all women fighting for our liberation, so we no longer feel so alone.

Please join us! We can do this, sisters!

ARGENTINA LEGALIZES ABORTION!

This is an historic day for feminism in Latin America–Argentina voted to decriminalize abortion, thanks to a growing feminist movement, despite tremendous opposition by the Catholic Church!

Please join us on January 23rd and our SPECIAL GUEST FROM ARGENTINA, Jimena Diaz, psychologist, feminist and women’s rights activist on the successful abortion rights struggle there!

Tickets available at Eventbrite, for $5.00. A few free tickets are also available but please pay if you can in order to help us continue to fight for women’s rights.