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Supreme Court of the United States

Great News! The Equal Rights Amendment Will Remain Dead

By Caroline Roberts posted on:
March 19, 2021

On March 5, a federal district court judge ruled that the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) had expired, placing another nail in the amendment’s coffin.

This is great news! Though it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. After all, the deadline for ratifying the ERA came and went over 40 years ago. But, recently, some activists have been trying to revive it.

And though the ERA sounds beneficial (who would want to stand against equal rights?), in reality it’s an unnecessary amendment that would’ve, ironically, weakened our fundamental rights to freedom and fairness.

What Is the Equal Rights Amendment?

The saga of the ERA has been a long one.

The amendment claims to end discrimination against women by erasing the distinctions between the sexes in matters of divorce, employment, property, and more.

First proposed in 1923, the ERA didn’t receive Congressional approval until 1972, after which it went to the state legislatures for ratification. For the amendment to be ratified, three-fourths of the states had to pass it within seven years.

The ERA had strong bipartisan support in the 70s, and it seemed bound for ratification—that is until mom, wife, and political advocate Phyllis Schlafly came along and mobilized a grass-roots campaign against it. As a result, the amendment not only failed to gain the support from the states necessary for ratification, “but also, many states that initially passed the ERA rescinded their support.”

Schlafly uncovered a host of legitimate reasons why states should oppose the amendment. Today, we have a few more.

We Don’t Need the Equal Rights Amendment

The ERA is unnecessary. The Constitution already grants the same rights to women as it grants to men. As a woman, I am equally protected by the Constitution as written.

Furthermore, the ERA is dangerous.

Activists would use the ERA to create federal protections for the abortion industry. Since 1979, several state legislatures have passed their own ERAs. And the abortion industry has argued that state-level ERAs can be used to mandate taxpayer-funding for abortions. For example, ERAs in some states, including New Mexico and Connecticut, have been applied in court to defend taxpayer funding for abortions that are “medically necessary,”

Removing the distinctions between men and women in our laws would also allow for biological men who identify as women to compete in women’s sports. This would destroy equal educational and athletic opportunities for women and girls—not to mention it would threaten the very existence of women’s sports.

Additionally, ratifying the ERA would have undermined our rule of law. The U.S. Constitution lays out a process for ratifying new amendments. The ERA already went through this process and failed. And if activists want to resurrect it, they’ll have to start over from the beginning. They can’t just pick up where they left off in 1979. The Department of Justice confirmed this as recently as last year.

As ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner said, “The ERA not only undermines women’s rights and opportunities, it falls far short of the requirements to amend the Constitution. As it stands today, the ERA is legally dead and has been for the last 40 years because its proponents failed to achieve the required support from the states… Following that process by starting over respects the American people and the integrity of the Constitution. And that’s good no matter what side of the aisle we find ourselves.”

If there was ever a time to let sleeping dogs lie, this is it.

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Caroline Roberts, Strategic Communications Writer

Caroline Roberts

Strategic Communications Writer

Caroline Roberts serves as a Strategic Communications Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom.

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