18. Is There A Conspiracy To Stop The Equal Rights Amendment?

It seems to be "news" when a state fails to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.). However, a report which suggested a national conspiracy to stop the E.R.A. did not seem to be news. An article, reviewing the report made by the National Organization for Women (which supports the E.R.A.), was buried in Part IV, page 120, of the April 11, 1976, issue of the New York Times. The article said, in part: "Stop E.R.A. leader Phyllis Schlafly talks of passing the hat for nickels and dimes to finance the movement, but it can hardly be so homespun. Among E.R.A. proponents,. there has. been much speculation that a helping hand comes from segments of the insurance industry, whose sex-differentiated practices might come under severe scrutiny if the amendment were passed. A NOW report traces in great detail a web of alleged interconnections among Schlafly, the John Birch Society, and a number of insurance company executives. NOW vice president for legislation, Elaine Latourell, whose office helped prepare the report says: "The industry giants are out to crush the E.R.A. We see connections winding covertly from their corporation board rooms, through their law firms, through their right wing leaders, through wives of insurance executives who crop up as heads of local anti-E.R.A. committees, through state legislators' offices, and back to insurance companies." She says that insurance lobbyists fought the E.R.A. heavily in Nebraska, Illinois, and Oklahoma. The main problem for insurance companies, if the E.R.A. should be ratified, appears to be their sex-differentiated practices in disability insurance and pension plans. The failure of the media to give equal coverage to the NOW report qualifies the report for consideration as on of the "best censored" stories of 1976.

SOURCES:

Elaine Latourell, Vice President for Legislation National Organization for Women, 3221 N.E. 180th St. Seattle, Washington 98155

New York Times, April 11, 1976, pt. IV, p 120; "Who's in the anti-E.R.A. lobby?" by Elaine Latourell