Phyllis Schlafly, “The Fraud of the Equal Rights Amendment” (1972)
From The Phyllis Schlafly Report Volume 5, February 1972
In the last couple of years, a noisy movement has sprung up agitating for “women’s rights.” Suddenly, everywhere we are afflicted with aggressive females on television talk shows yapping about how mistreated American women are, suggesting that marriage has put us in some kind of “slavery,” that housework is menial and degrading, and—perish the though—that women are discriminated against. New “women’s liberation” organizations are popping up, agitating and demonstrating, serving demands on public officials, getting wide press coverage always, and purporting to speak for some 100,000,000 American women.
It’s time to set the record straight. The claim that American women are downtrodden and unfairly treated is the fraud of the century. The truth is that American women never had it so good. Why should we lower ourselves to “equal rights” when we already have the status of special privilege?
This Amendment will absolutely and positively make women subject to the draft. Why any woman would support such a ridiculous and un-American proposal as this is beyond comprehension. Why any Congressman who had any regard for his wife, sister, or daughter would support such a proposition is just as hard to understand. Foxholes are bad enough for men, but they certainly are not the place for women—and we should reject any proposal which would put them there in the name of “equal rights.”
Another bad effect of the Equal Rights Amendment is that it will abolish a woman’s right to child support and alimony, and substitute what the women’s libbers think is a more equal policy, that “such decisions should be within the discretion of the Court and should be made on the economic situation and need of the parties in the case.”
Under present American laws, the man is always required to support his wife and each child he caused to be brought into the world. Why should women abandon these good laws—by trading them (or something so nebulous and uncertain as the “discretion of the court?”)
The law now requires a husband to support his wife as best as his financial situation permits, but a wife is not required to support her husband. A husband cannot demand that his wife go to work to help pay for family expenses. He has the duty of financial support under our laws and customs. Why should we abandon these mandatory wife-support and child-support laws so that a wife would have an “equal” obligation to take a job?
By law and custom in America, in case of divorce, the mother always is given custody of her children unless there is overwhelming evidence of mistreatment, neglect, or bad character. This is our special privilege because of the high rank that is placed on motherhood in our society. Do women really want to give up this special privilege and lower themselves to “equal rights” so that the mother gets one child and the father gets the other? I think not…
Many women are under the mistaken impression that “women’s lib” means more job employment opportunities for women, equal pay for equal work, appointments of women to high positions, admitting more women to medical schools, and other desirable objectives which all women favor. We support these purposes as well as any necessary legislation which would bring them about.
But all this is only a sweet syrup which covers the deadly poison masquerading as “women’s liberation.” The women’s libbers are radicals who are waging a total assault on the family, on marriage, and on children.