House votes to remove deadline

House votes to remove deadline

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

The House resolution was supported by five Republicans: John Curtis of Utah, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Tom Reed of New York and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey. No Democrat voted against the measure.

The 232-183 vote came 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 can be no expiration date on equality,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., the lead sponsor of the resolution, argued on the House floor.

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, the amendment faces opposition from anti-abortion groups who say it would lead to the removal of restrictions on abortion.

“If we want to discuss protecting rights for all Americans, it needs to pertain to everyone, including and especially newborns,” Rep. Carol Miller said. The West Virginia Republican said the ERA would force government-funded health care providers to conduct abortions.

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