Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri) are pushing to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, explicitly guaranteeing sex equality and subsequently protecting reproductive rights.

Congress passed the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972; ten years later, it had only been ratified in 35 states. Three more states eventually joined, surpassing the threshold needed to officially add it to the Constitution. Some states, however, have rescinded their ratifications and have thus left the amendment suspended in controversy.

The resolution was proposed in Congress nearly 100 years ago. It was approved 50 years later but was not ratified in time to be added to the Constitution. Proponents argue that, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and their decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last year, the amendment has taken on new significance and is vital to counteracting sex-based discrimination across the country.

The congressional Democrats introduced joint legislation, stating the measure has already been ratified and is enforceable as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. It would require that the national archivist, who is responsible for certifying ad publishing constitutional amendments, must do so immediately.

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This is Democrats’ second attempt this year to advance the Equal Rights Amendment. Republicans blocked a similar measure in April that pushed to remove an expired deadline for states to ratify the amendment, but only two Republican senators voted in its favor.

This time, Gillibrand and Bush are arguing that the amendment should already be in effect. Gillibrand has voiced her hope that President Joe Biden will call on the national archivist to take action or change the voting rules that dictate the ratification process.

It is unlikely that Gillibrand and Bush will get the 60 votes necessary to overcome a Republican Senate filibuster. However, their efforts have called attention to GOP opposition to social policy issues and a harsh stance on abortion.

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