WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, by a vote of 222 to 204, the U.S. House passed H.J. Res 17, removing the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The measure now heads to the U.S. Senate. Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) opposes H.J. Res 17, not only because the ERA would be a disaster for women and girls in America, but also because the ERA is already dead.
The ERA was first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971. In 1972, after the ERA passed 2/3 of both chambers of Congress, it was sent to each state to ratify within seven years. When that deadline expired in 1979, the ERA died, having failed to be ratified by 3/4 of states (38 states) as required by the Constitution. Additionally, several states have rescinded their approval of the ERA since 1979.
In 1971, it was not unlawful for the government to discriminate on the basis of sex. But, today, American women enjoy full legal equality with men. Men and women share all of the same basic constitutional rights, including the right to free expression, the right to worship, the right to bear arms, the right to due process, and the right to be free of unfair government discrimination and receive equal protection under the law. Numerous federal and state laws today also prohibit both private and public sex discrimination.
Adopting the ERA is not only unnecessary, but dangerous. It would require that the government treat males and females the same—regardless of circumstances or actual differences. It would, thereby, eliminate the ability of the law to recognize biological sex differences, even in circumstances when failing to acknowledge those differences would limit opportunities for women and girls, or place them in harm’s way.
This would be a disaster for the women and girls of America.
Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, added, “The ERA has been dead since 1979, and the U.S. House cannot change that. Retroactively adjusting the deadline for ratification without providing states a renewed chance to provide input on ratification would deprive Americans of their right to altering the Constitution.”
For more information, contact Meghan Agostinelli at [email protected].
Independent Women’s Voice fights for women by expanding support for policy solutions that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance freedom, opportunities, and well-being.
Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.