Phyllis Schlafly: ERA is Anti-Family Fraud, Leaves Wives Without Support

Woman who poisoned the women’s legal rights amendment is also against federal day-care as a diabolical plan to get babies off of women’s backs.

The Washington Star, January 18, 1976: This is a Question and Answer interview with Phyllis Schlafly, author, commentator, political activist and prominent opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment and women’s liberation groups.

Question: What do you make of the recent setbacks of the Equal Rights Amendment and the defeat of the state equal rights amendments in New York and New Jersey?

Mrs. Schlafly: I think they show that despite the fact that the proponents had nearly 100 percent of the press on their side, and despite the fact that they had nearly 100 percent of the politicians who cared to commit themselves on their side, nevertheless the voters recognized that the ERA as a fraud and they are against it. They recognize it as a takeaway of women’s rights; they recognize it won’t do anything good for women, and so they’re against it.

Q: Why do you feel that if women got legal equality, say in New York, it would take away their rights?

A: The New York state support law is a beautiful law. It says the husband must support their minor children under age 21. It’s perfectly obvious that when you apply the ERA to that law, it becomes immediately unconstitutional, and it knocks it out. So you have taken away the right of the wife to be supported and to have her minor children supported. Obviously, this is an attack on the rights of the wife and on the family. Now, if there’s been a divorce, she isn’t his wife anymore. The principal thing that ERA does is to take away the right of the wife in an ongoing marriage, the wife in the home.

Q: Do you think that is the reason men support their wives, because it’s the law?

A: Yes, I do. Because it is the duty, and I think duty is an honorable word. I think when men get married they know that they are taking on the duty of supporting their wives.

Q: Do you think that women today really are getting married to be supported?

A: Well, even if you think that in the future the law should be changed, I think it is a gross invasion of the property rights of women in existing marriages, to come along and say, “Now as a new principal of law — no matter that you went into marriage 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago, thinking that the marriage contract meant a definite relationship — too bad, sister. You’re on your own now.” And that’s what they saying.

Q: You see it happening that the wife at some point would have to support the husband?

A: She would be equally liable for the financial support.

Q: What’s wrong with that?

A: What’s wrong with that? Because you can’t make the having of babies equally shared. I think our laws are entitled to reflect the natural differences and the role assigned by God in that women have babies and men don’t have babies. Therefore, the wife has the right to support, and the husband has the duty to put the groceries on the table, to pay for them. Anything that ERA does to that is a takeaway of what she has now. It’s a reduction in those rights. And even if you want to discuss alimony or child support or divorced women, in any state where alimony is something that goes only from husband to wife, which is half the states. ERA knocks it out, because it isn’t equal.

Q: You mean the women might have to pay alimony.

A: Sure, that’s right. And the proponents say this is what they want.

Q: Well, do you really see anything wrong with a woman paying alimony if she has the money and the husband doesn’t?

A: No way of stopping her, if she wants to do it. But the thing that’s so fraudulent about ERA is that it is presented as something which will benefit women, which will lift women out of this second-class citizenship, this oppression that they’ve been in for the last 200 years. The proponents cannot show any single way that it is going to benefit women.

Q: You are also against the women’s movement?

A: I certainly am.

Q: Why is that?

A: I think it is destructive and anti-family. I think their goals can be summed up as, first, for ERA, which is a takeaway of the legal rights that wives now have. Second, it is pro-abortion on demand, and government-financed abortion and abortion in government hospitals or any hospitals. Third, it’s for state nurseries, to get the children in the nurseries and off the backs of the women, the mothers. Fourth, it is for pro-lesbian legislation, which is certainly an anti-marriage movement. And fifth, it is for changing the school textbooks in order to eliminate the stereotype, what they call the stereotype, of women in the home as wife and mother. So, I consider all five of their principals are anti-family.

Q: Do you think women would be drafted into the military?

A: Yes. And they would have the dangerous and unpleasant jobs. I feel that ERA which would require identical treatment in combat, and in the draft the next time we have one of these wars, is hurtful to everybody. It’s hurtful to the defense of our country, it’s terribly hurtful to our young women, it’s hurtful to the women who want to make a career in the military and it’s hurtful to the men.

Q: Don’t you think that the women who want to be in the service should be the ones to make that decision?

A: You mean the decisions as to whether they go into combat? No, I certainly don’t. I think the purpose of the military is to defend our country in battle. The purpose is not to provide job training for somebody who thinks she wants a fun career with a lot of men around.

Q: You feel that women need to be protected in many ways.

A: I feel that there are physical differences between men and women. And my feeling on this runs absolutely counter to the dogma of the women’s movement. The women’s lib movement establishes as dogma that there is no difference between men and women except the sex organs. I think this is nonsense. You will find as part of this law they want women drafted. They want girls playing football and wrestling with the boys in high school — as already has been mandated in Pennsylvania under the state ERA and all the rest. And I think that’s nonsense because there are physical differences. And any job that has physical qualifications — whether the factory, the military, the police or whatever — I feel the double-track system is the only sensible way to keep women safe.

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Judy Flander

Judy Flander

American Journalist. As a newspaper reporter in Washington, D.C., surreptitiously covered the 1970s’ Women’s Liberation Movement.