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History As It Happens

Jul 14, 2022

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the ruling affirmed a half-century of political activism by conservative grassroots organizers, religious and legal groups, and Republican politicians and strategists. Few members of this right-wing coalition were more important than the late Phyllis Schlafly, who dedicated her formidable organizing and rhetorical talents to campaigns against cultural liberalism. In this episode, historian and Schlafly biographer Donald Critchlow discusses the crusader’s legacy in light of the conservative movement’s success in ending a constitutional right to an abortion. It is a timely reminder about the importance of persuasion in politics, because although young Americans have only known the Republican Party as monolithically opposed to abortion, it took decades of work by Schlafly and like-minded activists to push the GOP further to the right.