Lawyer & Reproductive Rights Activist
Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist, commentator, and author was born Phyllis McAlpin Stewart on August 15, 1924, in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1944, she graduated from Washington University and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in government from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1945. She worked on an assembly line at a munitions factory during World War II to pay for part of her college tuition. After college, Schlafly went to work in Washington, D.C. for the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute and on conservative political campaigns for members of Congress. She married lawyer (John) Fred Schlafly in 1949, and in 1957 the two were the primary authors of an influential paper for the American Bar Association entitled: "Report on Communist Tactics, Strategy, and Objectives." Schlafly and Fred had six children. She received her law degree from the Washington University in St. Louis Law School in 1978. Schlafly came to national prominence with the 1964, self-published book, A Choice Not an Echo, written in support of the conservative politician Barry Goldwater. She quickly became an outspoken voice within the conservative movement, regularly attending and speaking at Republican conventions, and running for Congress (though she was never elected to public office). In 1972, she founded the Eagle Forum, a conservative political interest group. Schlafly is best known for her successful fight against the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s. Her campaign was called “STOP ERA.” “STOP” stood for “Stop Taking Our Privileges,” and included delivering homemade bread to members of Congress as a lobbying tactic. Schlafly argued the ERA would take away what she thought of as privileges women currently got, such as the exemption from mandatory military service, the “dependent wife” clause granting widows Social Security benefits, and the preference in custody battles given to mothers. She published twenty-six books. Schlafly remained active and influential in conservative politics until her death on September 5, 2016.
"If you can't take controversy, get out of politics."