The actress and activist wrote an essay for the Daily Beast telling the president to "grow a pair of ovaries and act" ahead of the expected Supreme Court ruling overturning the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. She says the Biden administration could pressure the National Archivist to publish the Equal Rights Amendment.
"Fifty years [after Roe v. Wade], women are just weeks away from losing our most basic protections and our very bodily autonomy because of the cowardice of our government and a decades-long campaign by the extreme right to control and commodify us," the Charmed star, 49, said of the leaked draft opinion. "We can’t let it stand — and the good news is that we don’t have to, if the president will simply grow a pair of ovaries and act."
Milano, who has been speaking out in protest for years as states pass restrictive abortion laws, revisited the history of pregnancy termination in the U.S., pointing out how it was legal until the late 1800s "when elected extremists criminalized our ability to control our bodies. In the decades between this dangerous government overreach and the Roe decision (and in the decades since), women fiercely fought for basic rights of American existence: the right to vote, to work, to earn equal wages, and to decide if, how and when we want to have children — rights which men have always enjoyed and profited from."
Ahead of the expected SCOTUS decision, which she said will set "women back more than 150 years, to those first anti-abortion laws in the 1800s" if Roe falls and states criminalize and further restrict abortions, she called on Biden to immediately enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution to formally protect women's rights.
"The Equal Rights Amendment states that 'Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex," Milano wrote about the ERA, which was introduced in 1923 and passed by Congress in 1972 with a deadline that 38 state legislatures had to vote to approve by 1982. Virginia became the 38th state to ratify it in 2020, but it was past the deadline. There is been a debate as to whether it should be formally recognized.
"Is there anything more obviously discriminatory on account of sex than denying access to health care to only one sex?" asked Milano, who has been candid about her own experience with abortion. "Right now, President Biden could pressure the National Archivist to publish the ERA, making it the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. We need to be ensuring women have EQUAL rights enshrined in the Constitution, not reducing or rolling back rights they already have. It is mind-boggling that instead he is following in the footsteps of Donald Trump. Women helped elect President Biden. Now, we’re calling in our investment. He must do everything in his power to enshrine our rights as Americans and to our own bodies in the Constitution. And he has to do it today, before SCOTUS reverses Roe." (While legal opinions on the matter differ, many believe that the ERA could be the "comprehensive fix" to save Roe.)
Milano ended by saying that "the radical right" won't stop at abortion bans. LGBTQ rights and contraception rights could also be at risk, so there's the need to act now.
"Women have always been lesser in this nation," she wrote. "This fact is the antithesis of everything we are taught the United States stands for, and yet it has persisted for centuries. And unless President Biden or Congress fix it, right now, it’s about to get so much worse for us... Gather every bit of patriotism and courage you have, and join me in loudly demanding President Biden protect the women who put him where he is by pushing to enshrine equal rights in our Constitution right this second. Tomorrow might be too late."