Back in the 1970s, the late Phyllis Schlafly charged that, if the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) were ratified, women would be subject to the military draft.
Funny thing, though — the ERA was not ratified, yet any return to the draft means our daughters would be forced into combat just like our sons.
The 14th Amendment already requires equal protection of the laws.
Congress proposed the amendment in 1972 with a seven-year period for ratification by the necessary 38 states. Even with an extension, the ERA fell three states short . . . well, make that eight, since five states* rescinded their initial ratifications.
“One thing we are going to need to do right away,” declared Senate Democratic leader Dick Saslaw, “is pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia.”
But it’s back, sorta. In recent years, Nevada and Illinois have ratified the timed-out amendment. And with Democrats taking control of both chambers of the Virginia Legislature in this year’s election, the state could now become the 38th to ratify.
Not so fast. Even Supreme Court justice and progressive action-hero Ruth Bader Ginsberg has made it clear that the amendment has expired, that the process must begin anew. No amendment should be bum-rushed into the Constitution.
Though some conservatives warn the ERA may undermine women’s rights. I support the language of the amendment as it plainly reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”**
Possible wrinkle: can anyone read plainly?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
** There were two boilerplate clauses, in addition: Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.