Can the deadline for the controversial Equal Rights Amendment be removed retroactively? House Democrats – and a few Republicans – are trying to do exactly that three decades after the deadline has expired.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove a deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment. "There is no expiration date on equality,'' said Representative Jackie Speier (D-California), the resolution's sponsor.
Following a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress, three-fourths of the states (38 of 50) are required for ratification of a constitutional amendment. The deadline for state ratification of the ERA was in 1982, but legislators in states such as Virginia have been pushing the legislation – and passage there in January made it the 38th state to ratify it. Critics, however, argue the deadline for ratification has passed – and some states have rescinded their approval over the years.
Advocates say the ERA is meant to prohibit discrimination on sex – but speaking on American Family Radio, Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women of America, said this is about one thing: taxpayer-funded abortion.
"The left is looking for the ability to force states to strike down any prohibitions on abortion," said Nance.
The House voted 232-183 this week to remove the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment. Five male Republicans joined 227 Democrats in voting for the measure.
Meanwhile, liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday described the Democrats' efforts as moot – and said she thinks it best for Congress to start over with the Equal Rights Amendment. "I would like to see a new beginning," she told an audience at a Georgetown law school event.
Nance wants equal treatment for both sides of the issue. "If we're going to recognize Virginia passing it, we also have to recognize the … states that want to rescind their passage," she concluded. "It's bad policy and we have to fight it."
No Democrat in the House opposed the measure to remove the deadline.