The Forgotten Father of the Abortion Rights Movement
What Bill Baird's aggressive, often illegal form of activism can teach a new generation about combating anti-abortion forces.
By Myra MacPherson
October 7, 2019
I first met Bill Baird in Hempstead, Long Island, on a freezing December night in 1968. This was 18 months after he was arrested and jailed for handing a can of contraceptive foam to an unmarried coed at Boston University. And it was some four years before the Supreme Court would hand down its decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird, the case that grew out of Baird’s illegal action and established the right of unmarried people to possess contraceptive products. Eisenstadt, in turn, was a crucial privacy precedent that the Court cited in 1973’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision establishing a woman’s right to an abortion. But on that night in 1968, Baird was attending to more immediate matters: a clinic packed with desperate women.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Wishes This Case Had Legalized Abortion Instead of Roe v. Wade
By Olivia B. Waxman
August 2, 2018
When the U.S. Senate confirmed President Bill Clinton’s nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the U.S. Supreme Court by a 96-3 vote on Aug. 3, 1993 — precisely 25 years ago Friday — that decision set Ginsburg on the path to legal (and viral) history. That process was also noteworthy for her decision to take “the unprecedented step of strongly endorsing abortion rights” in a Supreme Court confirmation hearing, as TIME reported back then.
“It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decisionmaker, that her choice be controlling,” Ginsburg told Senators during her four days of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee. “If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex.”