News
Featured Image
 Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

URGENT PETITION: Stop House Democrats' effort to revive pro-abortion Equal Rights Amendment!  Sign the petition here.

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives voted 232-183 Thursday to vote on eliminating the long-expired deadline for ratifying the controversial Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), though the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to do the same.

House Joint Resolution 79 simply states that “notwithstanding any time limit contained in House Joint Resolution 208, 92d Congress, as agreed to in the Senate on March 22, 1972, the article of amendment proposed to the States in that joint resolution shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the United States Constitution whenever ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States.”

Originally proposed and defeated decades ago, the ERA simply 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 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.

“If the time limit COULD be extended, the ERA would not bring women any more rights than they currently have but it would entrench the legality of abortion,” Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-4) said in a press release. “We know this from court precedent and by listening to those who have the most to gain from constitutionally protecting abortion on demand. In 1998, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that the Equal Rights Amendment in their state constitution requires state-funding of abortions. Federal courts are likely to do the same.”

Lawmakers in South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia have been working on reviving the ERA, while the U.S. House Judiciary Committee voted in November to retroactively lift its deadline for ratification. With today’s successful House vote the matter now rests with the hands of the Senate, which is not expected to pick it up.

Further, a 38-page opinion from the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel argues that legally, H.J. Res. 79 is insufficient: “Even if one or more state legislatures were to ratify the 1972 proposal, that action would not complete the ratification of the amendment, and the ERA’s adoption could not be certified under 1 U.S.C. § 106b. In addition, we conclude that when Congress uses a proposing clause to impose a deadline on the States’ ratification of a proposed constitutional amendment, that deadline is binding and Congress may not revive the proposal after the deadline’s expiration.”

In a rare instance of bipartisan agreement, left-wing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg set aside her personal support for the ERA Monday and acknowledged at a Georgetown Law School event that a “new beginning” was the only way for supporters to proceed. “A number of states have withdrawn their ratification,” she noted. “So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said ‘we’ve changed our minds?’”

LifeSiteNews is currently circulating a petition opposing revival of the ERA. “Such an attempt would be both illegal and costly, all for the sake of political point scoring,” it argues. “The nation is tired of political theatre, and we are asking Congress, and the Democrats, in particular, to stop indulging in ideological flights of fancy, and get back to work.” Readers can click here to read, sign, and share the petition.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.