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Bill Baird

Bill Baird (born 1932) is a reproductive rights activist who operated women’s health clinics and initiated several legal cases to secure women’s rights to contraception and abortion.

Bill Baird on the cover of the Boston Globe Magazine
Bill Baird on the cover of the Boston Globe Magazine, June 9, 1985, from the Papers of Bill Baird. Photo by Kevin Grady

Bill Baird is a reproductive rights activist who operated women’s health clinics and initiated several legal cases to secure women’s rights to contraception and abortion.

Baird's 1967 arrest and conviction for distributing contraception at an event at Boston University resulted in the 1972 Supreme Court case Eisenstadt v. Baird, which legalized contraception for all women. Baird’s clinic in Hempstead, New York was firebombed by pro-life activists in 1979. Baird later worked to de-escalate violence against abortion clinics.  With Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, Baird held “peace meetings,” and issued a joint statement advocating nonviolence in both pro-life and pro-choice demonstrations.

The Bill Baird papers document his clinics, lawsuits, and relationships with pro-life activists. They contain letters from women and men seeking abortions, and contain a large amount of ephemera created by pro-life and pro-choice activists.

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