“The Catholic faith teaches that women and men are created with equal dignity, and we support that being reflected in law,” Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said in a statement.
“The proposed ‘Equal Rights Amendment,’ however, would likely create a sweeping new nationwide right to abortion at any stage, at taxpayer expense, and eliminate even modest protections for women’s health and the lives of preborn children,” Burbidge added. “It could also pose grave problems for women’s privacy and athletic and other opportunities, and negatively impact religious freedom. I am grateful that the Senate did not advance this proposal that in fact expired decades ago, and I hope that Congress will focus on meaningful support for women and families in need.”
Senate Democrats held a press conference following the vote, in which they criticized Republicans for voting against cloture. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, suggested the amendment would affect the Supreme Court’s recent rulings related to abortion.
“It is 2023,” Schumer said. “Women are under assault, politically, in so many ways, whether it’s the right to choose or women’s health care or discrimination or so many other things. It’s about time America said no to all of that. It’s about time America said no to the MAGA majority on the Supreme Court, that we need protections for women.”
Only two Republicans, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted in favor of the resolution.
The battle over the ERA goes back a century, as it was originally introduced into Congress in December 1923. Congress approved the amendment in 1972, but the next step required at least 38 states to ratify it. The deadline imposed by Congress for ratification was 1979, but only 35 states had ratified it before that date. Congress extended the deadline to 1982, but no additional states ratified the proposed amendment. Although there were questions about the legality of the extension, which was approved in 1978, the matter was never resolved in the courts because not enough states had ratified it anyway.