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Professor David Cohen Analyzes the Impact of VA Election Results on the ERA in Rolling Stone

Professor David S. Cohen

November 19, 2019

The Equal Rights Amendment, intended to protect American citizens from sex discrimination, will gain new life next year as a result of the Democratic sweep of Virginia state government in the Nov. 5 election, Professor David Cohen argues in a Nov. 7 op-ed for Rolling Stone.

Though the Equal Rights Amendment passed Congress in 1971 and 1972, its ratification by the states became bogged down after only gaining the approval of 30 of the 38 states needed. A few more ratifications trickled in soon after, and In 2017 Nevada and Illinois joined in, bringing the total to 37.

Virginia’s Senate voted to ratify the amendment earlier this year, but approval was blocked by the Republican-controlled House. Now that the Democrats control the House, the Senate and the Governorship, Cohen writes, the final required ratification should swiftly follow.

However, Cohen notes that there are two major obstacles facing final approval. The first is the passage of the 1982 deadline for ratification votes, and the second is the fact that five states have since retracted their ratifications since the 1970s. Cohen believes, however, that all of these difficulties can be resolved, and that “the ERA, long thought dead, may just have been revived Tuesday night, despite the seemingly endless roadblocks that have been thrown its way.”

The co-author of Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism, Cohen is currently working on Obstacle Course: The Struggle to Get an Abortion in the United States with Professor Carole Joffe of the University of California-San Francisco, which is expected to be published in 2020.