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The Equal Rights Amendment

- April 3, 2020
Should it be part of the Constitution?
Featured Report

The fight over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), passed by Congress almost half a century ago in 1972, was renewed in January when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the measure. With that action, three-quarters of the states have now ratified the ERA, the number required to include the amendment in the Constitution. However, a congressionally established 1982 deadline for ratification has long since expired, and five states rescinded their ratifications in the 1970s. As a result, the Justice Department has declared the ERA no longer legally pending, and the National Archives and Records Administration has not certified adoption of the amendment. ERA opponents say it will eliminate protections for women, force them to serve in combat, ban single-sex bathrooms and institutions and outlaw abortion restrictions. Advocates of the amendment say it has nothing to do with abortion and will provide protection against gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence. A flurry of lawsuits has been filed by both sides, making it likely the Supreme Court will decide the ERA's fate.

The Administration

Congressional Action

The Courts

1920–1950The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is introduced but does not receive congressional approval.
1950–1970The ERA's popularity grows.
1975-1985Momentum for ERA ratification slows as conservative opposition grows.
2015-PresentInterest in the ERA re-emerges.

Should the ERA become part of the U.S. Constitution?


Krista Joy Niles
Director, Outreach & Civic Engagement, Alice Paul Institute.


Anne Schlafly Cori
Chairman, Eagle Forum.


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