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A Letter to My Daughter About Phyllis Schlafly

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

On Monday, Phyllis Schlafly, a great hero of mine, died. You got to meet her a few times when you were traveling with me as a newborn but I want to you know why I will always cherish this picture of you and her.

Phyllis was the woman I aspire to be: Smart, devoted, loving, hardworking, and courageous with an incorruptible spirit.  After working as a model and machine-gunner at a St. Louis ammunition plant, she became a straight-A student who won scholarships to our nation’s top universities. Even though she was asked to remain at Harvard Law to become their first female graduate, she turned them down. Instead, she followed her heart and headed to Washington, D.C. 

She then left her career in the big city to do something much greater: to marry and raise six children.

But her story didn’t end there. While raising her family, she went on to become the author of a New York Times bestseller, “A Choice, Not an Echo.” While the average NYT bestseller usually sold 30,000 copies, her book sold more than three million copies. It became a book which led the way for the transformation of the Republican Party. 

She continued her advocacy, standing up when no one else would against the Equal Rights Amendment when it was only a few states away from ratification. She stood up against everyone: the media, Hollywood, and the political climate of the day. 

In doing so, she prevented abortion from being an enshrined constitutional right with full taxpayer funding. She became public enemy number one for the perverted second-wave feminists of the 1960s and 70s. 

But she didn’t stop. Her work continued and she published more than 20 books on American foreign policy, education, and social and legal issues of the day. She went on to earn her law degree in her fifties while writing one of her most important books on American foreign policy and fighting off the ERA.

Time and time again she mobilized thousands, sans Internet, and converted our nation on issues otherwise thought of as decided. She dared to talk about those things that women weren’t “supposed to talk about." 

She was gracious and kind to those who spit in her face and wished her and her family dead. She remained steadfast in her positions and beliefs. 

And she hated the “f” word and what the feminist movement stood for. She knew that a woman’s best accomplishment wouldn’t be in the workplace, or what was said on television. No, a woman’s best accomplishment is and always will be her family. Such as it is for men as well.  

Before I had you and your brothers, I don’t think I understood this fully and couldn’t comprehend why Phyllis got so upset with me when I described myself has a "pro-life feminist" at one of our first meetings. 

It was because the feminism movement of the 1960s and 70s corrupted the struggle of the suffragists, Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul, who wanted women to be treated equally in our society. Instead they focused on one thing: sex and how "sexual liberation" would mean great things for our society.  

With more than 54 million abortions since 1973, more children living in foster care than ever, more than 80 percent of single-parent households headed by single moms (one-third of them are black mothers), and with pornography use and STD rates both being called national epidemics, their ‘feminism’ had failed. Case in point: this year at the Democratic National Convention, a post-abortive woman and leader in the abortion movement, shouted that she had an abortion and the crowd cheered

Gracie, I get it now. As women, we are called to do great things in the world, the same as men. But we have an extra special role to play. At the end of the day, my 4.0 GPA in high school and college doesn’t matter, my salary and title don’t matter, my speeches, books, or TV appearances don’t matter. 

What matters is this: I lead the life I was called to live, one that was dedicated to serving others, and most importantly, my family.

Family is what life is about. We can impact the entire world like just Phyllis did, but at the end of the day, when your last breath is taken, family is what matters. She taught me that.

This post has been updated.

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