While Iowa legislators were passing a resolution to honor the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote, Congressman Steve King joined a majority of his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to vote against a resolution aimed at moving the Equal Rights Amendment toward ratification.
Passed through the U.S. House and Senate in 1972 to ban discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantee equality for women under the Constitution, the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified as a constitutional amendment. It has languished in Congress for more than 40 years, prompting the Democrat-controlled House on Thursday to approve a resolution eliminating a decades-old deadline for states to ratify the ERA.
The measure, introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier of California, passed the House 232-183, garnering support from only five Republicans.
Iowa’s Democratic Reps. Abby Finkenauer, Cindy Axne and Dave Loebsack voted in favor of the resolution.
The House PASSED the #ERANow! We are one step closer towards equality in this country and won’t rest until the ERA is ratified to our Constitution & women and men are finally equal under the eyes of the law! pic.twitter.com/4XaWFVPSkI
— Dave Loebsack (@daveloebsack) February 13, 2020
“By voting against equal rights, Congressman King just made it abundantly clear that he can’t be counted on to stand up for Iowa women and girls,” said Brooke Goren, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in a statement.
The ERA states that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
King used the conversation on Thursday about the ERA for his own political purposes, calling the measure “pro-abortion.”
“Under this Equal Rights Amendment, it would put us all in a position where we would be forcing taxpayers to fund abortion,” King said, in a video message. “There are a number of rights that taxpayers would lose, and there’s really no rights that women don’t have that men have. We want equal opportunity. We want equal rights for men and women.”
There is no evidence to show passage of the ERA would advance any abortion-related causes, and King provided no explanation for that narrative in his remarks.
At the time the ERA was passed in 1972, Congress imposed a deadline by which at least 38 states needed to ratify the amendment so it could be added to the Constitution. The resolution approved today in the House eliminates the 1982 ratification deadline.
Iowa was one of 22 states to ratify the amendment in 1972. In January, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the ERA, but due to the legal and legislative discrepancies over the 1982 deadline, the future of the ERA is uncertain.
In his video, King points to the late Phyllis Schlafly as his inspiration for opposing the amendment. In the 1970s the conservative author led the effort against the ERA, helping push five states to rescind their ratifications of the amendment.
“Phyllis Schlafly stepped in because she understood what it meant, and she was a great friend to me,” King said. ” … she mounted an effort across this country to shut down the ratification because of all the implications, and it was a successful effort and it’s part of her legacy.”
King, and other opponents of the ERA, believe that because the ratification deadline has passed, the proposed amendment is moot.
“You can’t change the rules after the game,” King said. “That’s what Democrats are trying to do today, change the rules after the game so that it just suites the result that they are after.
“If they want an Equal Rights Amendment, start a new one, don’t try to resurrect one that’s been dead for a long time,” he said.
By Elizabeth Meyer