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February 18, 2021

Scholars at the Ethics and Public Policy Center today weighed in on the Equality Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate this week, and which is expected to receive a vote in the House next week.

EPPC President Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D., an expert on bioethics, religious liberty, and political philosophy, said:

“The so-called Equality Act is legislative malpractice that turns equality on its head. It isn’t drafted as a shield to protect vulnerable minorities from unjust discrimination, but as a sword to persecute those who do not embrace new sexual and gender ideologies.  

“It sacrifices the equality, safety, and privacy of women, while privileging men who identify as women: If this bill becomes law, they’d have a civil right to spend the night in a battered women’s shelter, disrobe in a women’s locker room, and compete on a women’s sports team—even children at K-12 public schools. 

EPPC Kate O’Beirne Fellow Mary Rice Hasson, J.D., an expert on topics related to women, faith, culture, family, sexual morality, and gender ideology, said:

“If the Equality Act passes, the federal octopus will extend its woke tentacles into almost every aspect of Americans’ lives, imposing ‘gender identity’ requirements that effectively snuff out the sex-based rights of females, endanger parental rights, and silence religious believers in the public square. 

“Make no mistake, if the Equality Act becomes law, children in every public school in America will be sold on a cult concept of the human person—that ‘who we are’ is self-defined by feelings, regardless of biological sex. Female students will be forced into silence—or required to celebrate—when yesterday’s male classmate announces he ‘identifies’ as a ‘girl’ and demands to shower in the girls’ locker room, compete against her in sports, and claim for himself the hard-won rights of women.

“The Equality Act is nothing short of a Pandora’s Box which, once opened, will unleash damaging consequences impossible to undo.”

EPPC Fellow Erika Bachiochi, J.D., a legal scholar specializing in Equal Protection jurisprudence, feminist legal theory, Catholic social teaching, and sexual ethics, said:

“The so-called Equality Act’s sponsors think that, by legislative sleight of hand, they can transform the great Civil Rights Act of 1964 into a mechanism for public funding of abortion and no one will be the wiser. But taxpayer funding of abortion—deeply unpopular among Americans—would only further incentivize employers to prefer abortion for their pregnant employees over far more costly accommodations for parenting. The bi-partisan coalition that passed the real Pregnancy Discrimination Act well understood the economic pressure pregnant women felt to abort. As then-Senator Joe Biden put it, ‘many women, especially low income women, may be discouraged from carrying their pregnancy to term.’ The Equality Act may be good for the bottom line, but it would be devastating for women and their families.”

EPPC Fellow Andrew T. Walker, Ph.D., a scholar in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life program whose areas of expertise include natural law, human dignity, family stability, and church-state studies, said:

“The Equality Act is an egregious overreach which proves that President Biden’s appeal to unity and moderation was little more than a shallow political ploy. This bill targets goodwill people of faith by making historic and reasonable claims about gender and sexuality suspect and ripe for exclusion from the public square. Every member of Congress should oppose this legislation for what it is: an accelerant to anti-Christian bias by equating evangelical convictions about human flourishing to Jim Crow bigotry.”

EPPC Cardinal Francis George Fellow Mary FioRito, J.D., whose areas of expertise include human life issues, primarily abortion, post-abortion aftermath, and contraception, said:

“The Equality Act is not about equality per se, but rather, about redefining long-established principles allowing institutions, states and even the federal government itself to refrain from the funding of abortion. In fact, Section 9 of the Equality Act changes the term ‘sex’ in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, adding ‘pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition’ to the definition. What was meant to protect women from discrimination at the workplace, in school, and in society is twisted in the ‘Equality Act’ to require individual healthcare providers to facilitate abortions, stripping away important religious liberty and conscience protections that currently safeguard religious hospitals, healthcare facilities, and professionals, including women who are medical professionals, from being directly or indirectly involved in a procedure that ends a developing human life.”

To request an interview with Ryan T. Anderson, Mary Hasson, Erika Bachiochi, Andrew T. Walker, Mary FioRito, or another EPPC scholar, contact EPPC Communications Director Josh Britton at