Dr. Curtis Boyd’s career encapsulates our long-fought abortion wars.
Dec 14, 2022
The first thing Dr. Curtis Boyd did when he arrived at work one cloudy Monday morning in January was turn on his radio. It was 1973, and Boyd, an ordained Baptist minister, had been providing underground abortions for five years, most recently out of a mountaintop house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The only people who knew the location of his clinic were members of the Clergy Consultation Service, a national network of faith leaders that discretely connected patients to reliable, and safe, doctors. As far as Boyd knew, he was the network’s only provider in the Southwest.
A group of Texas women had flown in that morning for appointments, but Boyd was distracted. A Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade was expected any day now. He kept one ear tuned to the news as he readied himself for the day. When the story broke that the Supreme Court had recognized the right to an abortion, Boyd and his nurse “looked at each other somewhat in shock” and then embraced. “It’s over, it’s over, thank God at last it’s over,” he says. He no longer had to live in fear that he—or worse, one of his patients—might end up in jail.