Phyllis Schlafly, Enemy of ERA, Abortion and Gay Rights, Dead at 92

Schlafly authored “A Choice, Not an Echo”

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly, a leading nemesis of the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion and gay rights and one of the happiest warriors of the “Mad Men”-era culture wars, has died at 92.

She died in St. Louis surrounded by her family, according to the Eagle Forum, the conservative group she founded in 1972. She was a relentless advocate of conservative causes — or, as her foundation put it on Facebook, “a courageous and articulate voice for common sense and traditional values.”

In the 1960s and ’70s, Schlafly helped launch the modern conservative movement even as she tried to stop modern feminism dead in its tracks. She also fought communism, same-sex marriage, and abortion rights through thousands of public appearances and her 27 books.

The best known of her tomes was “A Choice, Not an Echo,” a self-published book that became an argument in favor of conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign, and a denunciation of his Republican rival, New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, whom she presented as a liberal almost indistinguishable from Democrats.

Though Goldwater lost to incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson, he cleared the path for other proud right-wingers, including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

She became best known in the 1970s for her opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment, which she argued would deprive women of gender-specific rights, including exemption from the draft.

Many political scientists say her opposition led to the narrow defeat of legislation that seemed, on its face, like an obvious step toward gender equality.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred, and​ is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren, and ​three ​great-grandchildren.