Document 3: Iowa ERA Coalition, "How Will Iowa's Equal Rights Amendment Affect:," 1980. Folder: ERA -- Original Materials, Box 7, Iowa ERA Coalition Collection, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Document 3: Iowa ERA Coalition, "How Will Iowa's Equal Rights Amendment Affect:," 1980. Folder: ERA -- Original Materials, Box 7, Iowa ERA Coalition Collection, Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.


       This is the second page of a two-page mass-mailed letter sent by the Iowa ERA Coalition in 1980.  The first page, which has been omitted, is an almost exact copy of document 1.  This letter, which was sent later in the campaign than document 1, shows the continuing effort to refute opponents' claims about the ERA. It shows, as well, the effort to publicize the positive effect of the ERA on issues such as widow's rights and the economic value of homemakers. The brochure address's other issues among feminists including the inadequacy of the 14th amendment to address issues of sexual discrimination and the pay differentials for working women and men. They also address concerns specific to Iowa citizens such as inheritance claims for farm wives and the fear that men will lose rights under the ERA. Similar to the Coalitions other printed material, this brochure marks a clear delineation between the gay rights and abortion rights movement and their own campaign.


The Iowa Equal Rights Amendment will not interfere with social or personal relationships in a family. It only affects legal relationships. Families will still decide who will work outside the home, who will care for the children, and how family decisions are made.
The career homemaker's valuable contribution to marriage and the rearing of children will be recognized for its economic value to the family. The valuable contribution of farm wives and homemakers has been recognized by the Iowa Legislature in passing inheritance laws requiring these women to pay inheritance tax on only 1/2 of any jointly owned property. This law has faced repeal in the legislature in every session since its original passage. The Iowa Equal Rights Amendment will insure that these women will not be required to pay tax on property they already own.
Over 70% of the women who work do so because of economic neccessity. These women have a right to equal pay. On the average, working women are presently receiving only 59¢ for every dollar earned by a man.
In many states, child custody and child support are primarily based on the sex of the parent, regardless of what would be best for the child. ERA will mean that the needs and well-being of the child will be the only consideration.
The Iowa Equal Rights Amendment will not prevent Iowa from prohibiting homosexual marriages. None of the fourteen states with state equal rights provisions has legalized such marriages.
Abortion is a federal, not a state issue. However, at the federal level the Supreme Court abortion decision was based on the right to privacy, and will not be affected by the ERA. Abortion, by its nature, affects ONLY women. The Equal Rights Amendment deals with laws affecting both men and women. Abortion does not apply.
The passage of the Iowa Equal Rights Amendment will not affect Social Security benefits. Social Security is governed by federal laws not state. A Federal Equal Rights Amendment would not cause women to lose benefits, but would equalize benefits which presently discriminate against men.
The United States Constitution protects the right of every citizen to live a private life. Sex Segregation in public restrooms, in prisons, and in other institutional sleeping quarters, and in living conditions in the armed forces is an expression of this privacy right. These are personal matters and cannot be interferred with by the Equal Rights Amendment -- federal or state.
The 14th amendment is inadequate to protect against sex discrimination. In 1973, three justices used the pending ratification of ERA as their reason for not treating sex discrimination similar to race discrimination (Frontiero v. Richardson '73). Only a constitutional amendment will guarantee these rights.
Men's Rights -- This amendment will assure equal rights under the law for all Iowans. Men will lose none of their legal rights under this amendment and laws that were written to protect or benefit women can now also protect and benefit men.


back to top