The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted 232-183 to pass legislation that would repeal the 1982 deadline for states to ratify the so-called Equal Rights Amendment. Recently, Virginia voted to ratify the ERA, making it the 38th state to ratify the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires three-fourths of the states to vote for ratification in order for the amendment to pass.
The House vote in favor of the ERA deadline extension included five Republicans. All Democrats also voted in favor.
The ERA is vague: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” It is being sold as a long-overdue course correction for women’s equality, but the potential effects would likely be the exact opposite.
Since 1972, when the ERA was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification, conservatives have argued—and Focus on the Family agrees—that the language would be used to enshrine abortion in the U.S. Constitution. As it becomes more and more possible that the U.S. Supreme Court might soon overturn Roe v. Wade, the current effort to pass the ERA appears to be a last-ditch effort to make such a court decision meaningless.
The ERA would also strip women of many of the rights already provided to them via laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, and child support legislation, just to name a few. If you dislike the trend we’re experiencing now where biological men are allowed to enter women’s restrooms, locker rooms and other sex-segregated facilities or enter women’s athletic events, you really won’t approve when the ERA makes such behavior a constitutional right. There are cases at the U.S. Supreme Court right now that will decide whether the word “sex” also includes gender identity. A wrong decision on that issue will doom women’s privacy and equal opportunities on the athletic field forever.
As conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly so presciently argued in the 1970s, the ERA would end sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms, would force women to enter the draft and serve in combat roles, and result in fewer, not more, protections for women.
A recent legal analysis by the U.S. Department of Justice supports the long-held view of many constitutional lawyers that the ERA’s ratification possibilities ended with the original deadlines back in 1979 and 1982. Another factor that, legally, makes the ERA’s success doubtful, is the fact that five states rescinded their ratifications before the 1979 deadline.
Even liberal, pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently reiterated her opinion that the ERA was dead, and proponents needed to start over. She also wondered how current advocates of the ERA could count post-deadline ratifications while ignoring pre-deadline rescissions.
What does the future hold for the ERA? The Senate is controlled by Republican who hold a 53-47 advantage. Even with pro-abortion Republicans like Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) expected to join Democrats, it’s unlikely the ERA would pass if it ever made it to the Senate floor for a vote. And it’s almost certain that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will never allow the bill to come to the Senate floor for a vote. But if by some miracle it manages to pass both chambers, it’s likely the president would veto it. The DOJ, which reports to the president, has already taken the position that the ERA is dead, and cannot be revived by an attempt to extend the long-past deadline.
The Daily Citizen will be following this bill as it’s taken up in the Senate. We’ll advise you of any committee votes or other actions being taken that you should be aware of. This legislation threatens pre-born babies and existing women’s rights, while potentially promoting transgender ideology to a constitutional right. It needs to be defeated.