Politics The World

Here are Phyllis Schlafly’s 10 most controversial moments

Conservative and anti-feminist icon Phyllis Schlafly passed away this week in her home state of Missouri. During her lifetime, Schlafly was most well-known for her leadership of the anti-Equal Rights Amendment movement and outspoken beliefs about women’s rights, Communism, and modern politics. Whether you agree with her ideas or not, one thing is for certain, Phyllis Schlafly had an undeniably powerful influence on politics and the feminist movement.

Here are 10 of her most iconic moments, beliefs, and achievements. She might not have been a feminist, but she accomplished an awful lot during her 92 years.

1. Organized the STOP ERA campaign

Phyllis Schlafly is perhaps best known for leading the STOP ERA campaign during the 1970s. STOP ERA, which stood for “Stop Taking Our Privileges” and “Equal Rights Amendment,” prevented the Equal Rights Amendment from passing through congress. As a staunch conservative and housewife, Schlafly believed that the ERA would force women into the workforce, take away the benefits wives and widows enjoyed from their husbands’ salaries, take away male and female restrooms, and lead to the drafting of women into the army.

2. Emphasized that she was a housewife first and foremost

Even though Schlafly had immense political influence, she always emphasized that she was, above all else, a housewife. While campaigning for ERA and running for political office, Schlafly always listened to her husband’s wishes. If he thought that she had been away from the home for too long, she’d return. Over the course of her long career, Schlafly even raised 6 children. Some feminists, like Betty Friedan, argued that even if Schlafly claimed to be anti-feminist, her political activism made her a liberated woman.

3. Wrote the bestseller A Choice Not an Echo

Published in 1964, A Choice Not an Echo sold over 3 million copies. The book spread in popularity when it was distributed during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign. In the book, Schlafly argued that liberal Republicans, which she called “Rockefeller Republicans,” had to be stopped by more conservative Republicans. Schlafly explained that liberal Republicans were responsible for failed presidential candidates in the past, and that only truly conservative Republicans could guarantee a successful President.

4. Opposed the idea of rape within marriage

As an anti-feminist, Schlafly spoke out against common feminist ideas, such as the idea of rape within marriage. While many feminists believed that a husband could rape his wife if his wife did not consent to intercourse, Schlafly argued otherwise. In a March 2007 speech at Bates College, Schlafly stated, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.”

5. Founded the Eagle Forum

In 1972, Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum, a conservative and pro-family interest group. A renaming of the original STOP ERA campaign, the Eagle Forum has supported pro-family, anti-immigration, and anti-globalization policies.

6. Published The Phyllis Schlafly Report

Beginning in 1967, Schlafly begain publishing a newsletter called The Phyllis Schlafly Report. The report ran throughout Schlafly’s life and demonstrated her immense influence in conservative politics.

7. Strongly opposed abortion

As a conservative and pro-family politician, it’s no surprise that Schlafly opposed abortion. She spoke out against liberal policies related to women’s rights throughout her career. Following Roe v. Wade, she said that the Court’s choice was “responsible for the killing of millions of unborn babies.”

8. Fought against same-sex marriage

Schlafly opposed same-sex marriage and believed it attacked “the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” She also argued that the Equal Rights Amendment would promote LGBT causes and same-sex marriage–which is partially why she fought against the amendment.

9. Condemned the UN and globalization

Eagle Forum
Eagle Forum

Schlafly strongly condemned globalization, immigration, and other policies that she believed interfered with U.S. sovereignty. Throughout her work with the Eagle Forum, Schalfly opposed the United Nations and fought against the opening of U.S. borders to Canada or Mexico. Speaking about the World Trade Organization, Schlafly stated that globalization is a “direct attack on American sovereignty, independence, jobs, and economy … any country that must change its laws to obey rulings of a world organization has sacrificed its sovereignty.”

10. Endorsed Donald Trump

Most recently, Schlafly endorsed Donald Trump as a candidate for president. However, her personal support of Trump caused turmoil within the Eagle Form. Many of the Eagle Forum’s board members instead supported Ted Cruz, and so Schlafly asked those board members to resign.

During her many years as a political activist, Phyllis Schlafly made just as many friends as enemies. However she is remembered, one thing is certain: she will be remembered.

By Cecilia Nowell

Cecilia Nowell is a freelance journalist and recent graduate of Wellesley College. She writes about politics and art, and gets excited about graphic novels, mythology, and art therapy. In her free time, she runs a cat blog, drinks too much tea, and enjoys hiking.