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Roe v. Wade debate renews push to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

Some of the amendment's supporters believe it would help protect abortion rights if added to the U.S. Constitution.

WASHINGTON — The Roe v. Wade debate over abortion has renewed some locals' interest in adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution. 

Supporters believe the amendment could help protect abortion rights in America and, until recently, Virginia was right in the middle of that fight.

Since Politico's Roe v. Wade story broke, the phrase "Equal Rights Amendment" has been searched for a lot on the web in the D.C. area, according to Google Trends. 

The Equal Rights Amendment seeks to declare equality for all Americans, regardless of their sex. 

On Thursday, at the Supreme Court, an advocacy group called, Generation Ratify, argued the amendment would grant women freedom when it comes to their reproductive health.

"We have attacks like overturning Roe v. Wade because the Constitution does not prohibit sex-based discrimination," said Generation Ratify Member Rosie Couture.

In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment. That was significant because 38 states must individually ratify amendments for them to be added to the US Constitution.

But, then, something happened.

The Archivist of the United States, who certifies the validity of amendments, agreed with a Department of Justice opinion during the Trump administration. It said the deadline to pass the Equal Rights Amendment was in 1982, making Virginia's ratification almost 40 years too late.

Nevertheless, Virginia persisted.

The Commonwealth, Illinois, and Nevada decided to sue the Archivist in an attempt to force the federal government to recognize Virginia's ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Virginia stayed active in that legal battle until February when the new Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares decided to withdraw his state from the suit. 

Still, Virginia's withdrawal didn't kill the push to ratify the amendment. Two weeks ago, Illinois and Nevada filed another brief asking a federal appeals court to let the amendment go forward. So far, oral arguments for that case have yet to be scheduled.

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