Conservative Leader Phyllis Schlafly Dies at 92 | NECN
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Conservative Leader Phyllis Schlafly Dies at 92

Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, "A Choice Not an Echo"

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Phyllis Schlafly during the Family Research Council's 2007 Washington briefing on Oct. 19, 2007 in Washington, DC.

    Phyllis Schlafly, the outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group, has died. She was 92. 

    Schlafly's family was with her when she died Monday afternoon of cancer at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said. Funeral arrangements are pending, he said.

    Returning Marine Meets Son For First Time

    [NATL] Returning Marine Meets Son For First Time
    A Tennessee Marine returning from deployment met his newborn son for the first time Thursday. (Published 3 hours ago)

    Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, "A Choice Not an Echo," that became a manifesto for the far right. The book, which sold three million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited for helping conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona earn the 1964 GOP nomination.

    She later helped lead efforts to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would have outlawed gender discrimination, galvanizing the party's right. She'd graduated from college while working overnight at a factory during World War II, her newspaper column appeared in dozens of newspapers and she was politically active into her 90s — including attending every convention since her first in 1952. She attended this year's convention as a Donald Trump delegate.

    Mom Thwarts Attempted Kidnapping

    [NATL-DFW] Mom Thwarts Attempted Kidnapping

    One Albuquerque, New Mexico mother got the shock of a lifetime when she turned around just in time to see a complete stranger running away with one of her children.

    Quick thinking and protective, the mother was able to chase down 29-year-old Dustin Sherman and wrestle her child from his arms.

    "He was carrying her like he was carrying his own child," the mother said. "He was holding her close you know trying to hold her really close to him and that bothered me really bad."

    Sherman was arrested, and authorities say he has a criminal history that includes battery on a peace officer as well as domestic violence charges.Read more from KOB here.

    (Published 4 hours ago)

    Yet she told The Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972 in suburban St. Louis, where she lived. The ultraconservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members.

    "I've taught literally millions of people how to participate in self-government," Schlafly said. "I think I've built a wonderful organization of volunteers, mostly women but some men, willing to spend their time to get good laws and good politicians."

    The Eagle Forum pushes for low taxes, a strong military and English-only education. The group is against efforts it says are pushed by radical feminists or encroach on U.S. sovereignty, such as guest-worker visas, according to its website, which describes the Equal Rights Amendment as having had a "hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages."

    The group said in a statement on its website announcing Schlafly's death that her "focus from her earliest days until her final ones was protecting the family, which she understood as the building block of life."

    Airlines Reading, Responding to Social Media Rants

    [NATL-DFW] Airlines Reading, Responding to Social Media Rants
    A new study says airlines are reading posts made by customers complaining over delayed or canceled flights and poor service, and are responding to those messages. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has a team tracking Twitter, Facebook and other online sites 24 hours a day. When a customer vents about a problem, a representative reaches out to them. "The approach is really how can we help, wait a minute we hate to hear that.... so what is going on, give us some information and let's see what we can do to straighten this out," said Lisa Goode, with Southwest Airlines. Social media teams help airlines by rebooking customers or by helping keep them more calm by relaying information when problems crop up. (Published Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)

    As momentum grew in the 1970s for the Equal Rights Amendment, Schlafly became its most outspoken critic — and was vilified by its supporters. She had a pie smashed into her face and pig's blood thrown on her, and feminist Betty Friedan once told Schlafly, "I'd like to burn you at the stake." She was chastised in a 1970s "Doonesbury" — a framed copy of which hung on her office wall.

    "What I am defending is the real rights of women," Schlafly said at the time. "A woman should have the right to be in the home as a wife and mother."

    Summer Camps For Adults Throughout the Year

    [NATL] Summer Camps For Adults Throughout the Year
    Fall may have officially arrived, but the summer camp experience is still going for some. More and more adults are reliving the summer camp experience during fall and spring. More than a million adults a year are indulging in camps according to the American Camp Association. (Published Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)

    Thirty-five states ratified the amendment, three short of the necessary 38. Schlafly said amendment supporters couldn't prove it was needed.

    "They were never able to show women would get any benefit out of it," she told the AP in 2007. "It (the U.S. Constitution) is already sex-neutral. Women already have all the rights that men have."

    Brewer Wants to Sell Weed-Infused Beer Nationwide

    [NATL-DFW] Brewer Wants to Sell Weed-Infused Beer Nationwide
    A Colorado based brewery plans to market their cannabis-infused beer across the country. One question: does it get you high? (Published Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016)

    Saint Louis University history professor Donald Critchlow, who profiled Schlafly in his 2005 book, "Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade," said the defeat of the amendment helped revive conservatism and helped pave the way for Ronald Reagan's election in 1980.

    "What the ERA (defeat) did was show the right, and especially Reagan strategists, that a new constituency could be tapped to revitalize the right. It allowed the right to take over the party," Critchlow told the AP shortly after his book was written.

    Schlafly was born Aug. 15, 1924, and grew up in Depression-era St. Louis. Her parents were Republican but not politically involved.

    Her own activism was born partly out of convenience. With the country involved in World War II during her college years, Schlafly worked the graveyard shift at the St. Louis Ordnance Plant. Her job included testing ammunition by firing machine guns. She would get off work at 8 a.m., attend morning classes, then sleep in the middle of the day before doing it all over again.

    The schedule limited her options for a major. "In order to pick classes to fit my schedule I picked political science," Schlafly recalled in the 2007 interview.

    She graduated from Washington University in 1944, when she was 19. Her first taste of real politics came at age 22, when she guided the 1946 campaign of Republican congressional candidate Claude Bakewell, helping him to a major upset win.

    In 1952, with her young family living in nearby Alton, Illinois, Schlafly's husband, attorney John Schlafly Jr., was approached about running for Congress. He declined, but she ran and narrowly lost in a predominantly Democratic district. She also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1970.

    Schlafly earned a master's degree in government from Harvard in 1945. She enrolled in Washington University School of Law in 1976, and at age 51, graduated 27th in a class of 204.

    Schlafly received an honorary degree at Washington University's commencement in 2008. Though some students and faculty silently protested by getting up from their seats and turning their backs to the stage, Schlafly called it "a happy day. I'm just sorry for those who tried to rain on a happy day."

    Citing Schlafly's views about homosexuals, women and immigrants — she was an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, abortion rights and loosening U.S. border restrictions — protesters said she went against the most fundamental principles for which the university stood.

    Schlafly remained active in conservative politics well into her later years, when she was still writing a column that appeared in 100 newspapers, doing radio commentaries on more than 460 stations and publishing a monthly newsletter.

    Schlafly endorsed Trump in early March and introduced the then-GOP front-runner at a St. Louis rally.

    "Phyllis Schlafly is a conservative icon who led millions to action, reshaped the conservative movement, and fearlessly battled globalism and the 'kingmakers' on behalf of America's workers and families," Trump said in a statement Monday. "I was honored to spend time with her during this campaign."

    Schlafly's husband died in 1993. She is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.