Baird, Wm. F. "Bill"

Founded Pro Choice League, successfully fought for rights of unmarried persons to access contraception, abortion rights activist

Price: $20.00

Description:
(b. 1933) Founder of the Pro Choice League, established the nation's 1st abortion referral center in 1964 (before it was legal), and the 1st birth control and abortion center on a college campus (Hofstra University, 1965). He came to his mission in 1963 when, at Harlem Hospital, he found a woman screaming in the hall, a coat hanger protruding from her uterus, who died in his arms. He dropped out of New York Medical College in 1963, bought a dilapidated truck, converted it into a mobile counseling center, the Plan Van, and in his free time began distributing birth control information in New York City's poorest neighborhoods. That led to a 1965 arrest on charges of violating state laws restricting the dissemination of such information. Ultimately, the charges were dropped. During a 1967 speech at Boston University, he was arrested on charges of giving a female student a condom and a package of contraceptive foam, a calculated challenge to Massachusetts' "chastity" statute, which barred distribution of such materials to unmarried people. He was convicted and sentenced as a felon to 3 months in jail. He served 36 days until his release pending appeal. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court. In Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), the Court held the Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The Court established the right of unmarried people to possess contraception on the same basis as married couples and, by implication, the right of unmarried couples to engage in potentially nonprocreative sexual intercourse (though not the right of unmarried people to engage in any type of sexual intercourse). "If the right of privacy means anything," Justice Brennan wrote, "it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child." The following year, in Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that made abortion legal, the majority cited the Baird precedent several times. In 1976 & 1979, he was the named plaintiff in Bellotti v. Baird I & Bellotti v. Baird II. In Bellotti v. Baird (1976), the Supreme Court upheld a Massachusetts law requiring parental consent to a minor's abortion, which provided that "if one or both of the [minor]'s parents refuse ... consent, consent may be obtained by order of a judge ... for good cause shown.” The decision was unanimous, written by Justice Blackmun. In Bellotti v. Baird (1979) the Court ruled that teenagers do not have to secure parental consent to obtain an abortion. In an 8-1 opinion, the Court elaborated on its parental consent decision of 1976. It implies that states may be able to require a pregnant, unmarried minor to obtain parental consent to an abortion so long as the state law provides an alternative procedure to parental approval, such as letting the minor seek a state judge's approval instead. Autograph Statement (“Need your support for the freedom of choice”) signed on 4 x 6 white card; collector has penciled August 18 1976 date of in-person autograph on verso.

Condition: Very good
Type:Autograph Statement Signed






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