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House to vote to remove deadline

WASHINGTON – The House is expected to vote Thursday to remove the 1982 deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment women, a move that will be mostly symbolic as the Senate is not expected to follow suit and the ability of Congress to change the deadline has not been tested in the courts.

The vote comes weeks after Virginia became the 38th – and potentially pivotal – state to ratify the amendment. 

But that came decades after the ratification deadline set by Congress when the amendment was coming close to passage in the 1970s. 

“There should not be any time limit for doing the right thing,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Wednesday after calling the deadline arbitrary. 

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., holds up a copy of the Constitution during an event about their resolution to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

In addition to the legal uncertainty, however, the amendment also faces opposition from anti-abortion groups who believe it will lead to the removal of restrictions on abortion.

“ERA equals taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand,” said Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles, a conservative group named after the late activist who fought against the ERA.

The resolution the Democratic-led House will vote on does have two Republican cosponsors. And in the Senate, Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are backing a similar effort.

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