February 13, 2020
Independent Women’s Forum Opposes Congressional Efforts to Revive the Equal Rights Amendment 40 Years After Expiration Date
“The ERA replaces equality with sameness and would be a disaster for women.”
— Inez Stepman
Senior Policy Analyst, Independent Women’s Forum
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) opposes the House of Representatives’ attempt to revive the long dormant Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
In 2020, American women and men are legally equal. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment guarantees equality for all Americans. Federal law and the laws of all 50 states outlaw sex discrimination. The ERA would go much further by requiring that the government treat men and women not just equal but the same—regardless of actual differences recognized under current law upon which women presently rely.
The ERA threatens the status of hundreds — if not thousands — of laws regarding benefits to women, such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and Social Security spousal benefits. It also threatens to eliminate distinctly female spaces (such as public restrooms, battered women’s shelters, and prisons) and would require that all women over the age of 18 register for the military draft.
Inez Stepman, senior policy analyst at IWF, said, “In America today, there are no rights that men enjoy that women do not. American women today are succeeding by every available measure.” She added, “The ERA would be a disaster for women, replacing equality with sameness and forbidding the law to take into account the biological differences between the sexes upon which women sometimes rely for their very safety.”
In 1972, Congress sent the proposed amendment to the states for ratification within seven years. That original deadline was later extended by Congress to June 30, 1982. By 1982, only 35 of the necessary 38 states (the constitutionally required three-fourths) had ratified the amendment.
Although the deadline for ratification has long passed, Nevada ratified the amendment in 2017; Illinois ratified it in 2018; and Virginia ratified it in 2020.
On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted retroactively to remove the deadline for ratifying the ERA. Supporters seek to count the three states that ratified recently and declare the ERA law of the land.
Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, said, “The time for ratification of the ERA has long since expired. The amendment’s supporters espouse a process with no time limits on ratification and no ability to rescind approval that makes it impossible for the American people to ever reject a Constitutional amendment.”
Supporters ignore the fact that in the intervening years four states (Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Tennessee) rescinded approval, and one (South Dakota) “dropped out” pursuant to a state sunset provision.
Braceras added, “ERA supporters seem to think that they can get their way simply by waiting it out and cobbling together sufficient support over the course of decades or even centuries. This approach is contrary to the spirit of Article V of the Constitution, which is intended to ensure that a proposal has overwhelming support from the American people before it becomes part of our governing charter and the highest law of the land.”
For more information contact Elizabeth Tew at [email protected].
Independent Women's Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.