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Phyllis Schlafly, in the spring of 1973, squared off in debate at Illinois State University against archfeminist Betty Friedan.  The subject was the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, at the time just a few states short of ratification.  Those were the years when feminists went out of their way to look bad: frumpy clothes; no makeup; unkempt.  An angry Friedan fit the stereotype that day as she denounced her opponent as “a traitor to our sex, an Aunt Tom,” adding, “I’d like to burn you at the stake!”

Looking quite nice in her sweater, skirt, and stylish hairdo, the wife of Fred Schlafly replied that she stood for the most important of a woman’s rights: “the right to keep her own baby and to be supported and protected in the enjoyment of watching her baby grow and develop.”  The “women libbers,” she continued, failed to understand that “most women want to be a wife, mother, and homemaker—and are happy in that role.”

On September 5, at age 92, Phyllis Schlafly passed from this world.  The most successful social or pro-family conservative of the last 50 years, she counted early experiences that hardly predicted her later family politics: daughter of a working mother; winner of a full college scholarship; ammunition tester at a wartime machine-gun plant; a Phi Beta Kappa key; graduate study at Radcliffe and Harvard...

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