VA Withdraws From Baseless ERA Ratification Effort

The commonwealth of Virginia has decided to reverse its legal position and withdraw from the lawsuit Commonwealth of Virginia v. Ferriero, which seeks to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment even though Congress set a valid seven-year deadline for ratification that ended in 1979.

“The Equal Rights Amendment has been legally dead for decades because its proponents failed to secure the required support from the states to amend the Constitution,” said ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner. “Virginia made the right decision to withdraw from this unsuccessful lawsuit that disrespects our nation’s constitutional amendment process and threatens women’s rights and opportunities. Even former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledged that the push to sneak the ERA into the Constitution comes ‘long after the deadline passed.’ Virginia’s appropriate withdrawal from this litigation—which never should have been undertaken—respects the American people and the integrity of the Constitution.”

In July 2020, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief that urged the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to affirm that the ERA ratification deadline had expired.

The ERA was a proposed amendment to the Constitution that is unnecessary, as the Constitution already grants the same rights to women as it grants to men. Rather than advancing equality, the ERA actually jeopardizes the many gains women have made in employment, education, and sports.

As ADF attorneys explain, the ERA would threaten equal rights for women by leaving the term “sex” open for misinterpretation so that men who identify as women could compete on women’s sports teams, and males could enter shelters designed to protect women who have suffered abuse, rape, and trafficking. Additionally, by leaving “sex” open for misinterpretation, the ERA invites courts to strike down many commonsense laws that benefit women including special accommodations for pregnant women in the workforce and military; government programs such as Women, Infants, and Children; and criminal protections via the Violence Against Women Act.

Further, the ERA could be misused to force Americans to pay for abortions with their tax dollars—including abortions up to the moment of birth—and to strike down even modest state protections for mothers and their unborn children, such as parental notification laws for minor girls seeking abortions and laws prohibiting abortions based on the baby’s sex.

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