By Andrea Sachs
As the most visible and effective critic of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), Phyllis Schlafly squared off against the National Organization for Women and other pro-ERA groups in one of the most bitter battles of the 1970s. Critics denounced her as a hypocrite: though she lauded stay-at-home mothers and wives, she herself was a full-time political activist and lawyer. Nonetheless, Schlafly's grass-roots efforts prevailed, and the ERA went down to defeat. Now 84, Schlafly remains a force in conservative politics, with a busy lecture schedule. She is the president of the pro-life, anti–gay marriage Eagle Forum, which has 25,000 members. TIME senior reporter Andrea Sachs reached Schlafly at her home in St. Louis.