Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah) on Wednesday criticized the Equal Rights Amendment during a town hall appearance in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Lee said he disagreed with the amendment and even with its name, which is euphemism designed to conceal the amendment’s actual implications.
“By passing this amendment, we would be upending decades of legal precedent that makes these things clear, putting into their place uncertainty and putting into their place a radical pro-abortion agenda with which I passionately disagree with,” Lee told the audience. Republicans contend the amendment would be used as a constitutional protection for legalized abortion at any stage.
On February 13, the House passed a resolution scrapping the deadline for passage of the amendment, which expired almost 40 years ago. Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment in January.
The Justice Department has opposed the amendment’s adoption, emphasizing the expiry date and arguing that any states that signed on after that date are not valid signatories. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has also voiced her opposition to enacting the amendment by repealing the deadline.
“There’s too much controversy about latecomers — Virginia [approved it] long after the deadline passed,” Ginsburg said at a February 10 event at Georgetown University. However, the justice said she would like to see the amendment passed if the state ratification process could be started from the beginning.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asserted the amendment would not affect abortion rights, while pro-abortion organizations such as the National Organization for Women and NARAL Pro-Choice America have stated the amendment may give courts the support needed to roll back pro-life legislation.