Virginia officially became the 38th and final state needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Monday, putting the rights of unborn babies in jeopardy.
WTOP reports the Virginia General Assembly cast the final vote Monday to ratify the ERA. Democrats control both chambers in the state legislature.
Earlier this month, the state House and Senate each passed their own versions of the resolution, and the vote Monday approved both measures, the report continues. The votes were 59-41 in the House and 28-12 in the Senate.
NBC 4 Washington reports abortion advocacy groups and women’s rights groups celebrated the vote as a “momentous victory” Monday – though the ultimate fate of the amendment remains uncertain.
The constitutional amendment appears to be simple. It states that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” But pro-life leaders say the language could be used to end all abortion restrictions, even common-sense laws such as parental consent for minors and the partial-birth abortion ban. It also could force taxpayers to pay for abortions, something most Americans oppose.
The good news is that the deadline passed nearly 40 years ago, and court challenges already have been filed. Several other states also voted to ratify the amendment past the deadline, and still others voted to rescind their ratification votes.
According to WTOP, the Virginia ratification resolution now goes to the National Archives and Records Administration, which is in charge of adding constitutional amendments.
The U.S. Department of Justice decided that the deadline has long passed and the amendment is dead, and the National Archives is expected to follow that legal opinion unless otherwise directed by a court order.
“We conclude that Congress had the constitutional authority to impose a deadline on the ratification of the ERA and, because that deadline has expired, the ERA Resolution is no longer pending before the States,” the DOJ stated.
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The only constitutional avenue to adoption of an ERA would be to start over, a move that requires two-thirds approval in each house of Congress, followed by a new round of consideration by state legislatures.
Abortion advocacy groups have been lobbying for the amendment for decades. On its website, the pro-abortion group NARAL said the ERA would “reinforce the constitutional right to abortion by clarifying that the sexes have equal rights, which would require judges to strike down anti-abortion laws because they violate both the constitutional rights to privacy and sexual equality.”
U.S. Congress set a seven-year deadline for the ratification of the amendment, but it ended in 1982. Some pro-abortion lawmakers have ignored the deadline and passed the amendment anyway, including the Nevada legislature in 2017 and Illinois in 2018.
A leading pro-life group told LifeNews it is sorely disappointed the legislature approved the pro-abortion ERA.
The Family Foundation is extremely disappointed that a majority of the General Assembly played along in this charade pretending to pursue an illegitimate ratification process of the so-called Equal Rights Amendment.
“The fact that a female Speaker of the House and female Senate Pro Tempore didn’t need the ERA to rise to their current positions of power is more evidence that the ERA is simply not unnecessary. Strong, successful women don’t need an outdated, vague brochure bill to be successful. The legislation passed today will not help a single woman,” said Victoria Cobb. “If the ERA were somehow deemed legally valid, the true impact its passage would be to roll back the gains made by women in employment and athletics and cement legal abortion into the US Constitution.”
Pro-ERA advocacy groups are already proclaiming that the Virginia legislature’s action will be the successful culmination of decades of struggle for constitutional “equality.”
However, there are many who find these claims implausible.
“This is an attempt to air-drop into the Constitution a sweeping provision that could be used to attack any federal, state, or local law or policy that in any way limits abortion — abortion in the final months, partial-birth abortion, abortions on minors, government funding of abortion, conscience-protection laws, you name it,” said Douglas D. Johnson, who directed National Right to Life’s ERA-related efforts during his years as federal legislative director and continues to do so today as NRL senior policy advisor.
“Pro-abortion advocates have been unable to accomplish their goal by the amendment process provided in Article V of the Constitution – their proposal expired unratified 40 years ago — so they are attempting to accomplish it through a brazen political campaign, dressed up in legal terminology,” Johnson said.
In December, Alabama, Louisiana and South Dakota filed a lawsuit challenging the ratification of the ERA. South Dakota is one of the states that rescinded its ratification of the ERA – and it did so within the deadline, according to the lawsuit.