House looks to remove ERA ratification deadline

WASHINGTON — House Democrats hope to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment which would make discrimination against women illegal.

But supporters of the 28th amendment to the Constitution have a tough fight ahead.

Women have been fighting for 97 years to make the Equal Rights Amendment a part of the U.S. Constitution.

“Women still face inequality under the law, from wage gap, from pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The House will vote Thursday on a resolution they say would ratify the ERA.

Congress passed the ERA in 1972. It set a 10-year deadline for the amendment to be ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Oregon and Washington ratified the ERA in 1973. Last month, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify but 38 years too late. Five states have rescinded their ratification.

Democrats argue the deadline was a date arbitrarily picked by Congress and states can’t rescind once they ratify.

California Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who authored the resolution to extend the deadline, believes there is enough bipartisan support to pass her bill in both the House and Senate.

“It’s just a matter of getting a vote on the Senate floor,” said Speier.

But it’s unlikely that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow that. The Justice Department is opposed and some Republicans say the ERA is really about abortion.

“If ratified, the ERA would be used by pro-abortion groups to undo pro-life legislation,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).

“To those who want to make this all about abortion, this is about all of the rights that women deserve because they want to be equal to men in this country,” Speier said.