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Abortion Argument Hurdle To Equal Rights Amendment Ratification

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois
House sponsor of ERA ratification, Rep. Lou Lang in his office at the capitol

A resolution that would have Illinois ratify the Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be called for a deciding House vote. The House sponsor, Democratic State Rep. from Skokie, Lou Lang, says he's close to reaching the 3/5ths vote needed, but there are still "attendance issues."

Lang says opponents tying the proposal to abortion has been harmful to the effort. Opponents claim the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution's goal is to further abortion access. "When the language for the Equal Rights Amendment was actually written by Alice Paul in the 1920s, we didn't have legal abortion in this country," Lang said. "So to say that people wrote this with a plan to expand abortion services is just nonsensical."

Lang says he hopes to earn enough support for a vote to be called before spring session ends this week, though technically the resolution won't die until the swearing in of a new legislature in January.

Ratification doesn’t require Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature, though some advocates are urging him to publicly support it, a move he has yet to make. "He has a responsibility to speak out," said Lang. "I think his lack of leadership in this has been appalling and gutless."

Listen to the interview with Lang below:

listen to the interview with Rep. Lang

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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