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House rescinds ratification of Equal Rights Amendment

March 20, 2021 GMT

BISMARK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota House has voted to rescind the state’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, declaring that it expired in 1979.

The state Democratic-NPL Party blasted the action late Friday, calling it an “assault on women’s rights.” Democrats questioned why the resolution was moved to the top of the House calendar Friday after having a committee hearing on Thursday.

“Today’s vote, and the fact that this resolution was even introduced, was a slap in the face to every woman in the state of North Dakota,” Executive Director Kylie Oversen said. “This entire legislative session has been a slap in the face to common decency and basic human rights.”

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The lead sponsor of the resolution, Republican Sen. Janne Myrdal, says there’s a “radical movement” at the national level to reinterpret the Equal Rights Amendment to codify abortion, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

“If they want a new Equal Rights Amendment, please bring it back to the Congress,” Myrdal told members of the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Thursday.

The Democratic-led U.S. House this week voted to remove the deadline for states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The measure faces a more difficult path in the evenly divided U.S. Senate.

It’s part of a decades-long effort to amend the Constitution to expressly prohibit discrimination based on sex. Congress initially required the states to ratify it by 1979, a deadline it later extended to 1982.

Supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment say the abortion argument is fear-mongering.