As the years between the 2010 and 2012 elections demonstrated, from HR 358 (the “Let Women Die” Bill) to Virginia’s forced ultrasound bill to the many Republican trivializations of rape, the fundamental human rights of women are still considered negotiable in American politics. That might be because there is still no explicit guarantee in the Constitution of equal protection for women under the law. So we remain vulnerable to attacks on our rights and bodily autonomy and dependent on the shifting politics of each new Congress, Administration, and Supreme Court bench.
The Obama Administration’s We The People initiative spawned dozens of petitions requesting secession from the United States and many more serious petitions but as of today there are no publicly searchable petitions for women’s rights. This petition is trying to change that. We’re asking for the Obama Administration to prioritize ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, which is as follows:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
35 states originally ratified the Amendment when between 1923, when it was introduced, and 1982, the date of the deadline that Congress imposed, 3 states short of the 38 required. The ERA has been reintroduced in every session of Congress since, and in 2011 and 2012 both Senators and Representatives have introduced legislation to remove the 1982 deadline for ratification. There is precedent for considering the 35 original ratifications still valid—the 27th Amendment took 202 years to be ratified—and there is no better time than now, when the War on Women is still vivid in memory, with President Obama leading our country.
Sign the petition here. It needs 150 signatures to go public and 25,000 signatures by December 15 to receive a response from the White House.