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RICHMOND, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — Virginia Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares formally withdrew the commonwealth from a lawsuit seeking to revive the long-dormant effort to ratify the so-called Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution, an infamous effort to give judicial activists new tools with which to protect abortion-on-demand.

Originally proposed and defeated decades ago, the ERA 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.” But conservatives argue that if implemented, this seemingly-simple yet redundant language would be interpreted as codifying into law non-rights such as abortion and have broad ramifications on everything from the military draft and sex-segregated prisons to women-only restrooms and male-only clergy.

In 2020, Virginia’s previous Attorney General, Democrat Mark Herring, joined his counterparts in Illinois and Nevada in filing a federal lawsuit to demand ratification of the ERA, but the Trump Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion declaring their efforts invalid, because the deadlines from its original introduction have long since expired, and that any legitimate effort to ratify it would have to start the amendment process all over again. 

The Associated Press reported Friday that Miyares filed to remove Virginia as a party to that lawsuit, arguing that one of the previous dismissals on deadline grounds was correct.

“The Equal Rights Amendment has been legally dead for decades because its proponents failed to secure the required support from the states to amend the Constitution,” responded Alliance Defending Freedom general counsel Kristen Waggoner. “Virginia made the right decision to withdraw from this unsuccessful lawsuit that disrespects our nation’s constitutional amendment process and threatens women’s rights and opportunities.

“Even former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged that the push to sneak the ERA into the Constitution comes ‘long after the deadline passed.’ Virginia’s appropriate withdrawal from this litigation — which never should have been undertaken — respects the American people and the integrity of the Constitution.”

Virginia’s previous ERA push was part of a broader hard-left turn after Democrats’ November 2019 takeover of both chambers of the legislature. This month’s withdrawal is part of a broader reversal from that direction spearheaded by Miyares and Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who took office in January.

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