On Monday, The New York Times reported that conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly died at age 92. A controversial figure, Schlafly was known for her campaigns against abortion, communism, and the Equal Rights Amendment. According to the Times, her death was confirmed by the Eagle Forum, a self-described "pro-family" conservative group that Schlafly founded back in 1972.
CBS radio station KMOX reported that Schlafly was still president of the St. Louis-based Eagle Forum at the time of her death. The organization released a statement on its official Facebook page to pay tribute to Schlafly's life and career, and indicated that she had passed away in St. Louis in the presence of her family.
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.
Schlafly's death comes several months after controversy reportedly broke out in regards to the Eagle Forum's leadership. Eunie Smith, who served as the organization's first vice president, also released a statement. "America has lost a great stateswoman," Smith wrote, "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."
After spending decades spearheading conservative causes — from opposing modern feminism to advocating for the defeat of the ERA — Schlafly continued her engagement in American politics by endorsing Donald Trump in the current presidential election. She supported Trump's "grass-roots uprising," she said at a March rally for the now-Republican nominee, and added that he would lead conservatives to victory in November.
Schlafly's support for Trump contributed to the Eagle Forum leadership controversy, KMOX reported, but it was certainly not the first time Schlafly has supported a Republican nominee. As early as 1964, according to the Los Angeles Times, Schlafly wrote a book called A Choice Not an Echo, whose influence aided then-Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater to secure the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
Ryan Hite, an Eagle Forum spokesman, told the Los Angeles Times that Schlafly — once referred to by conservative direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie as "the first lady of the conservative movement" — died of natural causes in her home.