Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has died

The conservative activist, lawyer and author who was the spearhead of the effort that ended the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s, Phyllis Schlafly, has died. She was 92.

Schlafly began her campaign to end the ERA in 1972 after 30 states had ratified the amendment. It only needed eight more to pass ( it had already been passed in Congress) but because of Schlafly’s efforts the amendment fell three states short of ratification. It was Schlafly’s belief that passage of the ERA would lead to same-sex marriage, coed restrooms, abortion, the military draft for women and labor laws that would bar discrimination against women in the workplace.

Phyllis Schlafly with President Ronald Reagan (Wikipedia)
Phyllis Schlafly with President Ronald Reagan (Wikipedia)

Ironically, without the ERA we have coed restrooms, same-sex marriage, legal abortion, and military occupations once reserved for men only are now being opened up to women,

The right wing extremist always said, and we presume believed, a woman’s primary roles were to be a good wife and mother. Throughout her years in the public eye Schlafly created controversy every time she spoke or wrote a book or opinion piece. She often took aim at the women’s movement and was delighted whenever she could get a reaction from the leading feminists of the time.

She got her start in politics in the 1950s after graduating from college and marrying a wealthy lawyer, Fred Schlafly, Phyllis worked for a local politician in St. Louis, MO and then worked for Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin.

When C. Everett Coop, the Surgeon General for President Ronald Reagan, tried to introduce AIDs education in public schools Schlafly compared it to teaching “safe sodomy.” In a 1981 Senate hearing on sexual harassment in the workplace, she claimed, “… Virtuous women are seldom accosted by unwelcome sexual propositions or familiarities, obscene talk or profane language.”

Her views were so extreme Schlafly accused then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, and John Kennedy military advisors McGeorge Bundy and Walt Rostow of weakening the U.S. military so the Soviet Union could overwhelm the United States and take it over. She also claimed Communists were responsible for the riots and racial unrest of 1967.

Phyllis Schlafly at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Photo by Doug Christian)
Phyllis Schlafly at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (Photo by Doug Christian)

This year Schlafly endorsed Donald Trump for president, even writing a book, The Conservative Case For Trump, that was published today, one day after she died. It was her 24th published book.

People either loved or hated Phyllis Schlafly and on Facebook and other social media you can find memes and other posts praising the fact that the died and others hoping she died a slow and agonizing death.

Schlafly died after a long battle with cancer and the harsh criticism and pronouncements about her death have stunned many. Judging from all the severely harsh comments towards Schlafly, she appears to be even more reviled than Richard Nixon. For many Schlafly set back equal rights for women for decades with her socially conservative agenda.

On Twitter one woman wrote, “ believed women were to blame for sexual harassment & rape. Ann Coulter was her protégé. Anti-feminist women are dangerous.” Another woman tweeted, “I guess has passed. I was taught > “if you don’t have anything nice to say…just don’t say anything.” So…..__________”

Phyllis Schlafly (Wikipedia)
Phyllis Schlafly (Wikipedia)

One woman tweeted to Donald Trump, “ She was a disgrace to her gender. .” The GOP candidate had tweeted, “The truly great Phyllis Schlafly, who honored me with her strong endorsement for president, has passed away at 92. She was very special!”

The Conservative icon had her supporters and sycophants. One of her fans tweeted, “She never said women should stay home to death She thought it was a good idea we raise our own children novel.” Despite the fact that Schlafly and her husband employed nannies and housekeepers to take care of their six children.

A male supporter tweeted, “RIP . Your work for Conservatism in the 60’s & 70’s made you a giant. As a Missourian, I’m proud you were one of ours!”

Phyllis Schlafly is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Top photo is screen shot from YouTube