D.C. – Laws at the state and federal levels that specifically protect women are endangered – thanks to state lawmakers in Illinois that voted to support the Equal Rights Amendment last year.
Laws that provide protections and benefits that can only be taken advantage of by females could be overturned if wording that requires men and women be treated equally are amended to the U.S. Constitution. Laws that require nursing areas for breastfeeding women, special protections for pregnant employees and other benefits of which only women can take advantage could be disqualified. so speculated Eagle Forum Illinois' lobbyist in 2014.
Constitutional attorney Sharee Langenstein said "The ERA would prevent states from making any distinction between men and women. WIC would be gone. Protections for pregnant and nursing women would be gone," Langenstein said. "Women would be drafted, and would be put on the frontlines at the same rate as men. Women already have 'equal protection' under the law. Why do we need to strip away our equality in favor of androgyny?"
The issue took another step towards reality last week. With Illinois passing the ERA last year, the ERA movement boasts they are one state away from the required number of states to amend the Constitution.
At a House Judiciary Committee Meeting markup last week, Democrats voted to remove the long-elapsed deadline from the Equal Rights Amendment.
Ranking Member Doug Collins gave a scathing rebuke of the vote, warning that Congress simply "doesn't have the constitutional authority to retroactively revive a failed constitutional amendment."
"Congressman Collins is spot on," said Ed Martin, president of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles. "Pro ERAers are still bitter from their 1979 loss. They're now trying to scam the American people (with help from Fake News media) into believing that phony so-called 'ratifications' by states will complete the ERA. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"Everyone recognized the death of the ERA 40 years ago. They now must — as they tried to do and failed in the 1980s — resurrect it for a 2/3rds vote in Congress and 3/4s ratification by the states. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recognizes this as the option for a valid ERA. She remarked several weeks ago that 'I hope someday… we’ll be starting over again [on the ERA] collecting the necessary states to ratify it.'"
The deadline has passed, Martin said. Congress knew it in 1983. The Supreme Court recognized it in 1982, ruling the issue was dead "since the deadline for ERA ratification expired."
"House Democrats need to get clued in, and we need more conservatives like Rep. Collins to be bold and speak up for the Constitution. Any government official who improperly misleads the public is guilty of profound disservice to our nation. The Equal Rights Amendment is bad news for our country just like a Congress that blatantly ignores the constitution," Martin said. His group's founder, Phyllis Schlafly fought the ERA for decades, beginning in the 1970s.
Still, after losing year after year in the Illinois legislature, the ERA promoters succeeded to pass the amendment in Illinois last year – with the help of key Republican state senators Pam Althoff, Jason Barickman, Mike Connelly, Karen McConnaughay, Chris Nybo, Sue Rezin and Tom Rooney.
Althoff, Connelly and McConnaughay are no longer state senators. Rezin is now running in the 14th CD GOP primary to challenge Democrat incumbent Lauren Underwood.