Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly passes away

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Outspoken conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group, has died at age 92.

The Eagle Forum announced her death in a statement Monday. Her son John Schlafly says she died of cancer Monday afternoon at her home in St. Louis.

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. It chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention, sold three million copies and helped conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater earn the 1964 GOP nomination.

She graduated from college at 19, while working at a factory during World War II, and later earned master's and law degrees.

But she once said that perhaps her greatest legacy was the ultraconservative Eagle Forum, which she founded in suburban St. Louis in 1972.

Statement from the Eagle Forum:

“Today, Phyllis Schlafly has gone home to be with her Lord after a long illness.  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.  I have personally lost a dear friend of over forty years.

Known as the “sweetheart of the silent majority,” and the matriarch of the conservative movement, Phyllis Schlafly has been a visionary, a unifier, and a voice of conscience for more than six decades.

Phyllis has been credited with doing the impossible, when she and the army of grassroots volunteers she led and trained defeated the so-called Equal Rights Amendment, which had passed both houses of Congress and seemed destined for certain ratification among the states.

Also previously thought impossible, Phyllis not only brought together people of various faiths that historically worked separately, she brought these people of faith into the political process like never before, creating a crucial voting block of values voters.

Following the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, many of the volunteers Phyllis trained became leaders in the organization that was named Eagle Forum.  The name was inspired by Psalm 40:31, an encouragement to the battle weary that those who wait upon the Lord will “mount up with wings like eagles.”

Phyllis and her beloved “Eagles” are known for fighting tirelessly and for mobilizing political power for principle, not prestige or profit.  For decades under Phyllis’ leadership, Eagle Forum has led the pro-family movement through such diverse and important battles as defending the unborn, defending traditional marriage, defending American workers from unfair trade and immigration policies, defending individual inventors from losing their intellectual property to large corporations, defending women from being drafted into military combat, defending full-time homemakers, defending conservatives and grassroots activists from establishment kingmakers, defending children from politicized public education defending American taxpayers from out-of-control federal spending and defending against threats to American exceptionalism.

There will never be another Phyllis Schlafly.  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.”

Donald J. Trump statement on Phyllis Schlafly:

"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. I was honored to spend time with her during this campaign as she waged one more great battle for national sovereignty. I was able to speak with her by phone only a few weeks ago, and she sounded as resilient as ever. Our deepest prayers go out to her family and all her loved ones. She was a patriot, a champion for women, and a symbol of strength. She fought every day right to the end for America First. Her legacy will live on in the movement she led and the millions she inspired."