OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 6:32 PM – Tuesday, April 25, 2023
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) will be put to a vote in the Senate this week, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in an announcement on Monday.
“In this ominous hour of American history, the Equal Rights Amendment has never been as necessary and urgent as it is today,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
Schumer argued for the new vote on the ERA by citing the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year, as well as the ongoing legal dispute over the popular abortion drug mifepristone.
“Recent events like the Supreme Court’s horrible Dobbs decision, uncertainty with critical care drugs like Mifepristone, and a slew of proposed state actions have women in this country facing an uncertain future,” he said.
In 1972, the ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would ensure that all people have the same legal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation, was approved by both chambers of Congress and forwarded to the states for ratification. The amendment had to be ratified by the required 38 states, or three-fourths, by 1979, according to a timetable established by Congress. Although it agreed to extend the deadline to 1982, the amendment was eventually adopted by 35 states.
In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA after Nevada and Illinois did so in 2017 and 2018.
The ERA would no longer have to be ratified by the original deadline under the legislation that will be debated on the Senate floor this week, and it would be acknowledged as “valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution.”
“We are here to stand united, and inch by inch restore, fight for, and expand women’s rights so that the women of today and the generations of tomorrow will not know a future with less access than their mothers had,” Schumer said.
“The ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment would finally provide a constitutional remedy against sex discrimination – pushing our country one step closer to finally achieving equal justice under the law.”
The measure was presented by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and has also received the support of 52 senators.
Disregarding the voting process in Congress, there are other obstacles to the ERA’s inclusion in the Constitution, including certain legal concerns over whether Congress has the power to extend the initial deadline for ratification and if states can withdraw their ratification.
Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, and South Dakota are the five states that have chosen to repeal their ratification of the ERA.
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