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Sexx Matters*--Editorial

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Tenth grade Social Studies class. My first term paper. Typed on a Remington Select with bottles of White Out and typewriter correction tape by my side. The topic: The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

In case you haven't read it lately, the language in the ERA simply states:
Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

The Amendment was originally introduced in 1923. In 1972, it finally passed in both the House and Senate but sits dormant, and is not part of the U.S. Constitution since it has only been ratified in 35 of the necessary 38 states.

As you might expect, I took the position 30-plus years ago that the Amendment should be passed. And, I still do. Not because women still need equal due process rights; the 14th Amendment takes care of that. Not because women still need equal opportunity for employment and compensation; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act (1963), theoretically at least, afford these protections.

The ERA needs to be passed so that women finally have an equal opportunity to achieve and maintain their health.

Two weeks ago, the Institute of Medicine published a report: Women's Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls, and Promise. This report was commissioned by Health and Human Services to examine the status of women's health research over the last 20 years and to determine how effectively findings have been put into practice. The report's findings highlight that, indeed, there has been progress, particularly in the treatment of women with heart disease, breast and cervical cancer. There is a longer list of conditions for which progress has not been made.

Among the findings that I want to call attention to because, frankly, they are appalling, are those regarding the inclusion of women in clinical trials. Here is a brief synopsis; comments in parentheses are my editorial comments. What are blogs for, anyway?

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EmpowHER Guest

Dr. Georgiou may know a lot about medicine, but she is worfully ignorant about the U. S. Constitution. Her statement that ERA is not needed "because women still need equal due process rights; the 14th Amendment takes care of that." She fails to understand that the ERA is needed to guarantee for women the right to equal protection of the law that men have received as a constitutional birthright ever since the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 including references to "male citizens" meant to deliberately exclude women. Without the prohibition against sex discrimination AGAINST WOMEN that would finally include women in full citizenship implied by that 14th Amendment guarantee, none of the specifics of equality cited by Dr. Georgiou, even if nominally addressed by statutes, can be effective. Dr. Georgiou needs to learn the facts and broaden her pespective beyong health issues before she presumes to inform others. --Twiss Butler www.equality4women.org

October 6, 2010 - 9:50pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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