Phyllis Schlafly honed her political skills in the conservative movement of the 1950s and 1960s, then put them to work to stop the ERA. She traveled the country decrying the proposed amendment, which sought to ensure equal rights for women under law, as “anti-family” and un-American.
In the process, she built a coalition of evangelical Christians and political conservatives that influenced the modern conservative movement.
Schlafly helped send the ERA down in defeat in 1982, but the battle for equal rights continued. Since then, many of the goals the ERA aimed for have been achieved by other means. And the predictions Schlafly made about what would happen if the amendment succeeded – from women serving in the military to gay rights – have also come to pass.
Produced by Kathleen Hughes