Independence Day: How far have we come?

Letter to the Editor:

We all learned all about the Declaration of Independence in school, but how many of us have actually read it? This is the founding document of the United States and adopted on July 4, 1776, by the Second Continental Congress. This original purpose was to announce independence and has become the statement of human rights. It is a guarantee for equal rights for every person that is defined in the Constitution of the United States.  Does it mean the same thing in July 2023?
The Equal Rights Amendment was first drafted in 1923, by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, who believed that the principle of gender equality would help overcome the obstacles that kept women as second class citizens. Fifty four years later in 1977, only 35 states had ratified the ERA. Alabama is not one of the 35 states.
State attorneys general, both Republican and Democrat, have filed lawsuits about the ERA: the Democrats to have the amendment certified and Republicans, including Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, to block it. What do the Republicans have against women having equal rights?
One person who the voters should ask is District 4 Representative Robert Aderholt. If you check his voting record and look under “women” all you will see is a long string of red “NOs.”  What is it that Aderholt sees wrong in voting in favor of Domestic Violence Against Women, Equal Pay Act and all the other bills to benefit women? I asked him that question and he didn’t know that he had voted against all these bills. He must not know his own voting record. You can see it for yourself on  
Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville’s efforts to block the nomination of senior military officials over the Pentagon’s reproductive healthcare policy has not only put our national security at risk but has proven his determination to limit women’s access to reproductive healthcare. Approximately one in five members of the military are women. They are the fastest growing group in the military. There are estimates that 40 percent of servicewomen have little or no access to basic reproductive health services. Tuberville should consider that it is incumbent on our Congress to ensure we protect this fundamental right for those who have pledged to protect ours.
Here we are in Alabama, 247 years later, still fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment in our state. It is up to the women in Alabama to decide if they want to continue down this hollow slope of inequality.
As we celebrate July 4th, we are paying homage to the day the Declaration of Independence was signed to mirror the justification of equality for all.  Until Alabama passes the ERA Amendment, and acknowledges that women in Alabama are equal and the Republican leadership in this state open their eyes that women are entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” it is not equal.

Lynda Kirkpatrick
Marion County Democratic Party Chair
SDEC District 17 Alabama Democratic Party

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