‘Any vote for the ERA is a vote for abortion…’
(Liberty Headlines) After deep-pocketed activists, corrupt Clintonistas and partisan judges helped shift the political landscape in once-conservative Virginia, the now deep-blue state threatens to become the 38th to ratify the long-stalled Equal Rights Amendment, first promoted by radical feminists in the early 1970s.
That is certain to raise yet another in the Left’s succession of willfully imposed constitutional crises following House Democrats’ dubiously disgraceful impeachment effort.
Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment are so confident Virginia is on the verge of becoming the critical 38th state to ratify the gender equality measure, they are already making plans for how they will celebrate.
“It will pass,” Virginia House Speaker-elect Eileen Filler–Corn said pointedly at a recent news conference attended by cheering radical activists who have desperately sought to flip one final state needed in order to obtain a required three-fourths majority.
But that jubilation could be largely symbolic. The proposed 28th amendment’s prospects nationally are substantially more complicated.
Legal analysts have raised concerns that the nearly 40-year-old amendment has long passed its statute of limitations since first being introduced and may need to be re-ratified by the other 37 states.
When the measure passed Congress in 1972, lawmakers attached a 1977 ratification deadline to it, then extended it to 1982. While the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is likely to extend the deadline again, the Republican-controlled Senate may balk, increasing the chances of litigation. Lawsuits also could be waged over an attempt by five states in the 1970s to rescind their initial support for the amendment.
At least one legal challenge is already underway. Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota filed a lawsuit in federal court in mid-December seeking to prevent the U.S. archivist from accepting a new ratification.
In addition to the procedural questions, further statutory questions exist as LGBT activists in the Obama era took steps to refashion the very definitions of gender, leaving open whether sexual orientation and gender identity are also applicable under the language of the amendment.
Further complicating the matter is that the amendment would codify into the Constitution abortion rights that have long been opposed by conservatives for moral and religious reasons, as well as societal ones.
Activists Take Up Arms
After a ratification vote, Virginia is expected to submit copies of the state’s resolution to the U.S. archivist. State Attorney General Mark Herring—a partisan Democrat who has brazenly embraced the Eric Holder doctrine of selective enforcement in the state’s legal issues—said when that happens, he will include legal arguments in support of the ERA.
Herring said his office has been preparing for a long time for potential challenges to Virginia’s ratification. “If we have to go to court, I won’t hesitate,” he said.
In addition to court battles, activists may wage other types of attacks, evocative of the type of well-coordinated and well-funded “resistance” effort to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Emily Martin, general counsel for the far-left National Women’s Law Center, hopes a campaign for ERA ratification will kindle a new surge of women’s activism comparable to the women’s marches of 2016 and the subsequent emergence of the #MeToo movement.
Both movements subsequently fell into disrepute amid charges that their deeply flawed leaders were straying from the original cause.
“Mobilization around ensuring women’s equality is really important at this moment when the Trump administration is going backward in so many ways that are harmful to women and girls,” Martin claimed.
Some of the ERA-related arguments surfacing now are similar to those that flared in the 1970s. Would ratification mean that women, as well as men, are subject to the military draft? Would it undermine workplace laws intended to protect women?
But some of the liveliest debate over the coming months will likely deal with two hot-button social issues that have evolved significantly since the ’70s: abortion access and the rights of transgender people.
While abortion has been legal nationwide since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, many Republican-controlled states have passed tough anti-abortion laws in recent years and are hopeful the high court might repeal or weaken Roe.
Anti-abortion activists worry that the ERA, if ratified, would be used by abortion-rights supporters to quash abortion restrictions on grounds they specifically discriminate against women.
“That’s the whole reason ERA has been brought back,” said Anne Schlafly Cori of the conservative advocacy group Eagle Forum. “The proponents are concerned about Roe being stripped away by the Supreme Court, so they’re trying to shoehorn the ERA into the Constitution.”
“Any vote for the ERA is a vote for abortion,” said Cori, whose mother, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, spearheaded a highly successful opposition movement to the amendment in the ’70s.
The issue of transgender rights was far from the spotlight in the 1970s, but is likely to be a divisive topic in the coming ERA debate. Some ERA opponents are alarmed over the possibility that the amendment would be used to ensure nationwide protections for transgender women seeking to use women-only restrooms and locker rooms—actions that were far from approved when it was originally ratified.
“The ERA would be used to impose the most radical consequences of the new ‘gender revolution,’ which allows men to declare themselves women and vice versa,” said Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, another conservative advocacy group.