The National Organization for Women (NOW) PAC endorsed President Joe Biden for reelection in 2024, overlooking his obstruction of the Equal Rights Amendment and ignoring two other Democratic candidates, Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of whom is a woman and both would probably be more assertive on key issues.
Williamson called the endorsement of Biden, which was announced just minutes before she delivered the keynote address at their Georgia chapter’s annual conference, “genuinely ridiculous.”
The endorsement comes more than a year before Election Day, making it the PAC’s earliest-ever endorsement for a presidential re-election campaign despite the fact that Biden has not yet won his own party’s nomination.
NOW PAC cited Biden’s record on women’s issues as a key factor in its endorsement, such as the administration’s creation of the Gender Policy Council and its nomination of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.
However, the endorsement was met with some criticism from within the women’s rights movement.
“Women’s groups are having cocktails and fundraising not moving the needle,” said Jean Sweeney, founder of Rethinking Eve and managing partner of the Maloof & Browne law firm. “The National Organization for Women just endorsed Biden. They are throwing Democracy under the bus.”
Some activists have argued that Biden has not done enough to protect abortion rights and that he has failed to address other issues important to women, such as economic justice and racial justice.
In particular, Williamson, a best-selling author, has been critical of Biden’s record on women’s issues, arguing that the President is fighting the Equal Rights Amendment alongside anti-choice and anti-equality Republicans,
“Biden does publicly support the ERA and has called on Congress to ratify it, but behind the scenes, Biden’s Department of Justice is fighting the ERA in court and Biden is refusing to use his own ability to ratify it,” said Williamson. “Enough states have ratified the amendment, but because of an arbitrary deadline that many legal scholars argue can be bypassed, the Trump administration was able to refuse to verify the ratification.”
“The Biden administration has continued the Trump administration’s position, refusing to verify the amendment even as activists across the country, as well as Democratic senators and representatives, have called on it to do so, and continuing to fight in court cases against those who argue the ERA is ratified,” said Williamson.
“Another way in which the ERA, abortion rights, and countless other crucial policies are blocked is the Senate filibuster,” said Williamson. “I support ending the undemocratic filibuster, and unlike Biden, I would put real pressure on Democratic senators to do this.”
Women were outraged by the June 2022 Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that reversed almost 50 years of protection for abortion provided by its decisions from Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
Originally proposed nearly 100 years ago, the ERA was sent to the states for ratification on March 22, 1972. By 1978, 35 states had ratified but it took until January 15, 2020, before Virginia became the 38th and final state needed for ratification.
“The ERA was initially blocked by the Trump administration, and now the Biden administration continues to do the same,” said a statement issued by Shattering Glass, a Washington, DC nonprofit founded on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2021. “Taking the exact same positions as the opponents of equality for all and reproductive rights, who state the ERA has not been passed or ratified due to an alleged deadline in the preamble of the ERA, which hundreds of constitutional scholars have determined is invalid. All designed to deny women, girls and LGBTQIA+ people equal rights and ban abortion.”
“When Virginia became the 38th and final state needed for ratification on January 27, 2020, the Archivist adhered to Trump administration direction and failed to certify and publish the ERA as the 28th Amendment, as required,” said Shattering Glass. “Fast-forwarding to today, and given President Biden’s declarations of support for the ERA and repeated pledge to do everything in his power to protect reproductive and LGBTQIA+ rights, it is shocking that, not only has he failed to publish the ERA, his administration continues to block and fight against the ERA exactly like his predecessor.”