Expect to hear a lot more about the Equal Rights Amendment this year, especially from Democrats pushing for ratification by more state legislatures.
The ERA, which passed Congress in 1972, is a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits discrimination based on sex, and over the decades it has become a rallying cry of the feminist movement.
Colleen Holcomb of Eagle Forum says supporters of the ERA predictably trumpet the bill’s non-discrimination language.
IWF: 'Equal Rights' creates lots of wrongs
Ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment would do a lot of harm to women and girls despite the purpose of the law, says a policy analyst.
"It's one of those things that sounds really good,” says Inez Stepman of the Independent Women’s Forum. “But women already have equality under the law, and any sex-specific program that in any way treats women different from men, or boys different from girls, could be potentially suspect under an ERA."
Stepman uses sex-segregated restrooms in public schools as one example. Women could also be drafted into combat, she says.
What needs to happen, she adds, is a “real conversation” about the potential consequences and not just a pointed question over if men and women should be treated equally under the law.
“That's what proponents are leading with,” Inez warns. “And I think they are being a little bit disingenuous when they are suggesting that this won't have massive changes to a lot of things that Americans take for granted today."
“But, unfortunately, section two of the amendment is the really problematic part,” she says. “It's a massive power grant to Congress as it broadens Congress's power by authorizing it to pass laws to ensure equal protection."
In the wake of the “Me Too” movement, there has been a renewed push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Thirty-eight states are needed for passage.
Holcomb says the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment has passed, and five states have rescinded their ratification over the years.
"In 2018, Illinois and Nevada both passed ratification bills," she advises. "So all eyes have really been on Virginia in this fight because ERA has come up in Virginia over recent years and it was typically defeated."
This year, Democrats now control both chambers in Virginia and have promised a ratification bill this year after the legislation was killed in a House of Delegates committee last year.
Meanwhile, Holcomb insists women are already enjoying equal rights, since the U.S. Constitution and the 14th Amendment apply to women, too.
"The Equal Rights Amendment does not provide any benefit to women that's not already provided by the Constitution or existing law,” she tells OneNewsNow, “but it does increase the power of the federal government and that's a huge issue."