Phyllis Schlafly, the legendary conservative activist, lawyer and author who strung together a career that spanned seven decades, has died.
Schlafly founded the Eagle Forum in 1972, a pro-family conservative group focusing heavily on social issues — it has about 80,000 members and, as of this week, Schlafly was still president.
She was 92.
“Phyllis Schlafly spent an astounding 70 years in public service of her fellow Americans,” said the Eagle Forum in a statement. “Her focus from her earliest days until her final ones was protecting the family, which she understood as the building block of life. She recognized America as the greatest political embodiment of those values. From military superiority and defense to immigration and trade; from unborn life to the nuclear family and parenthood, Phyllis Schlafly was a courageous and articulate voice for common sense and traditional values.”
“America has lost a great stateswoman, and we at Eagle Forum and among the conservative movement have lost a beloved friend and mentor, who taught and inspired so many to fight the good fight in defense of American values,” said Eunie Smith, Eagle Forum’s first Vice President in a statement to the Associated Press. “I have personally lost a dear friend of over 40 years.”
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington University in 1944 — her masters from Radcliffe College in 1945 — and a J.D. from Washington University in 1978.
“Today, Phyllis Schlafly passed away in the presence of her family at her home in St. Louis, Missouri,” the Eagle Forum posted in a statement on its website.
The group called its founder “an indomitable pro-family grassroots advocate and organizer.”
“Phyllis Schlafly spent an astounding 70 years in public service of her fellow Americans. Her focus from her earliest days until her final ones was protecting the family, which she understood as the building block of life. She recognized America as the greatest political embodiment of those values. From military superiority and defense to immigration and trade; from unborn life to the nuclear family and parenthood, Phyllis Schlafly was a courageous and articulate voice for common sense and traditional values.”
Joseph Farah, founder of WND.com, said the news came as a shock Monday evening.
“As a friend of Phyllis’ for about 30 years, this news is shocking,” said Farah. “I understand age was catching up with her, but Phyllis was vital and alert right up to the last – churning out brilliant, incisive commentary and always available for wise counsel. It was my privilege to publish her most recent book, ‘Who Killed the American Family?’ and others. Phyllis was well-grounded in her faith and there is no question in my mind she is with her Lord right now. That’s the only consolation in this news. It’s her family’s loss, her friends’ loss and the kingdom of heaven’s gain.”
David Usher, president of the Center for Marriage Policy and a longtime activist on family issues, worked with Schlafly for 30 years.
“Phyllis was one of the only conservatives that supported the best leaders in the fathers’ rights movement in the 1990s. She supported my work and that of Dr. Stephen Baskerville, author of ‘Taken Into Custody,’ who now teaches at Patrick Henry College,” Usher said. “Through her mentoring, we realized that marriage-absence is everyone’s problem – fathers’ rights was just another unhappy interest group — and we began working on reversing marriage-absence.”
“Phyllis was very supportive of this work in her columns,” he continued. “More recently, we developed ‘supply-side socioeconomics,’ a policy framework destined to shrink the welfare state with simple, targeted policies that have the effect of building marriage. Very recently, Phyllis agreed that we are on the right track. She agreed that we either have marriage or big government. Without her wise leadership and uplifting support, we would never have learned or developed this. Going forward, we hope to replace much of the welfare state with marriage and economic success, particularly in troubled low-income areas. We will grow Phyllis’s great legacy into the future, in her honor.”
Schlafly was a constitutional lawyer, the author of 27 books and a public speaker. Her latest book, from co-authors Ed Martin and Brett Decker, is set to be released on Tuesday. It lays out how GOP nominee Donald Trump is “a surprising conservative choice” for president, the Washington Times reported.
According to Federal Election Commission reports, a political action committee bearing her name was registered by Ed Martin, the president of the Eagle Forum. It’s called Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle PAC.
“There will never be another Phyllis Schlafly,” Smith continued. “Today is a day to celebrate her amazing legacy and to remember the profound difference she made in the conduct of American public policy. Thank you, Phyllis. We will not grow weary.”
Schlafly’s final column ran Sunday on WND in which she hailed Ronald Reagan’s no-surrender attitude that won the Cold War.
Her longtime friend and former GOP presidential candidate and writer Patrick Buchanan’s recent op-ed praises her new book on Trump.
At 92, Schlafly has a new book out published by Regnery, “The Conservative Case for Trump,” co-authored by Ed Martin of Eagle Forum and Brett Decker. It it, she argues that Trump is an authentic conservative around whom every conservative should rally.
Her 1964 book “A Choice Not An Echo” explained the grassroots Republican resistance to the Eastern Establishment and was a historic manifesto for American conservatism.
Against all odds, she rallied Americans around the country, especially women, to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment and deal feminism one of the greatest defeats in its history.
The Eagle Forum, the group she founded and led for more than 40 years, is arguably the most effective and famous conservative activist organization in the country. And from Beltway insiders to precinct captains, from grassroots organizers to ordinary voters, anyone even remotely involved in politics hangs on her every word.
Last year she came out with a book “Who Killed The American Family?” in which she blamed socialist policies for much of the demise of the family unit. When couples divorce, the government establishes an inroad into that family and often decides on everything from financial matters to custody battles.
Schlafly was one of the earliest and most prominent backers of Republican nominee Donald Trump during the 2016 primaries. She called the New York real estate tycoon the “last hope for America” in an exclusive interview with WND.
She also helped rally conservative opposition to Marco Rubio when she called attention to the Florida senator’s “betrayal” on immigration.
Schlafly has also been one of the leading critics of Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and a vocal champion of Trump’s “America First” positions. And she’s been a firm opponent of illegal immigration, quick to criticize any Republicans tempted to back “amnesty.”
Schlafly was never liked by many in the establishment media, but she was widely respected. In 1963, the publisher of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat put it this way: “Phyllis Schlafly stands for everything that has made America great and for those things which will keep it that way.”
Schlafly enjoyed a rich family life. Married in 1949, she and her late-husband, Fred, shared forty-four happy years together as well as six children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Schlafly’s organization has been split this presidential election — Schlafly supported Donald Trump, though many board members disagreed. She maintained her leadership of the organization.
She also fought nephew, Tom Schlafly, over the naming rights to his brewery in St. Louis. Schlafly contended her name juxtaposed with beer and libations would damage the conservative brand’s reputation. A judge disagreed.