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Pro Choice Pioneer
(1994)





 


AT 80, BILL BAIRD, LEGALIZER OF BIRTH CONTROL SAYS AFTER 40 YEARS OF ATTENDING AND PICKETING HIS OPPOSITION, THE NATIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE - THIS YEAR IS HIS LAST

BILL BAIRD's, U.S. Supreme Court case Baird v. Eisenstadt (3/22/72) that legalized birth control nationally, celebrated its 40th birthday this year. Baird will picket (as he has done since 1973) the National Right to Life Committee's annual convention from June 28 through June 30, 2012. He will do so one last time. With his perennial heavy 8-foot wooden cross inscribed, "Free Women From the Cross of Religious Oppression - Keep Abortion Legal" Baird will demonstrate against conventioneers on their lunch hour at 12pm outside of convention headquarters located at the Hyatt Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington, Va.

Surprisingly, Baird has made friends with some anti-abortion leaders over the years including Priests for Life's Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director and Executive Director Janet Morana. Since 1999, Baird, his wife and biographer Joni Baird, Fr. Pavone and Janet Morana have met yearly to discuss how to bridge the divide between anti-abortion and pro-choice advocates.

In 2004 these unlikely friends drafted a Joint Statement that advocates respectful dialogue between the opposing two forces. It urges them to forgo using hate speech, which can lead to violence (Baird's clinic was firebombed in 1979 with 50 people inside. Recently, Fr. Pavone's life was threatened by pro-choicer Theodore Shulman).

Baird will direct his future energies towards educating the public about social issues including birth control and abortion. "I want to get with the times" he said "and start my own blog." He will also lecture nationally as he has done since 1963. That was when while clinical director of EMKO, a birth control manufacturer he was coordinating research at Harlem Hospital when an unmarried African American mother of nine children staggered with blood form the waist down. She died of her self-inflicted coat-hanger abortion.

He will also speak about how important it is for men and women to work hand-in-hand about reproductive rights issues. Baird was the victim of early feminist attacks that he hopes is now a thing of the past (feminist icon Betty Friedan labeled him a "CIA agent" in the media).

About the upcoming presidential election Baird reminds that he exposed Mitt Romney's flip-flopping on the abortion issue. Calling Romney the "presidential Trojan horse" (no pun intended) Baird reminds that in 2005 Romney omitted a reference to Roe v. Wade from a right to privacy proclamation honoring Baird v. Eisenstandt (Romney had done so the year before). Then in 2006, the governor refused to issue a proclamation honoring Baird v. Eisenstadt altogether, which had only to do with birth control. "I fear a Romney presidency will continue to help erode women's rights to abortion and even birth control. The U.S. Supreme Court is already right-leaning and if Romney were to appoint one more right-wing justice, you can kiss your rights goodbye" Baird warns. He also said "It is wrong for those to consider Justice Kennedy to be a swing vote when in reality it is well documented that he votes conservatively 75% percent of the time."

Baird will also spend his remaining years educating the public about what it was like in the 1960s when he illegally helped thousands of desperate women to find abortion help. He risked a 10-year prison sentence for aiding and abetting each woman he helped. "You have an entire generation of young people who have never lost a mother, relative or friend to a quack or self-induced abortion" said Baird.

He has two other U.S. Supreme Court cases, Baird v. Bellotti I and Baird v. Bellotti II which enabled minors to obtain abortions without parental veto.

For decades media such as AP and UPI have labeled Bill Baird the "Father of the Abortion Movement." Recent articles and background information can be found on ProChoiceLeague.org.

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(C)2006-2012 Bill Baird