NRL News

Bill Baird: A Genius at Getting Free Publicity

by | Apr 10, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Bill Baird

The Associated Press story that ran today profiling one-time abortion entrepreneur Bill Baird as a martyr treats birth control and abortion as two sides of the same coin. They are not, and as single-issue pro-lifers our concern is how the now 79-old-year Baird advanced the abortion agenda and how he told a small audience of about a dozen Democrats last week that “he believes opposing political and religious forces are threatening the causes of privacy and freedom he’s championed.”

In the abortion context, Baird is best known for two decisions–Bellotti v. Baird,  I and II. In a nutshell the first decision held that the district court should have abstained from deciding the constitutionality of a Massachusetts parental consent statute until the state court had interpreted the statute. The second decision invalidated Massachusetts’ law that required a minor to obtain the consent of both parents before obtaining an abortion, but hinted that such a law would be constitutional if it included what came to be known as a judicial bypass.

It would be unseemly, unkind, and without purpose to bash Baird. He has been sick and there is no reason to question that he is cash-strapped (as the story by the AP’s Bridget Murphy portrays his situation) and, tragically, has lost  “the trust of most of his children.”

The irony is the only source in the story that is sympathetic to Baird is a pro-lifer. Which is not surprising, for two reasons.

First, for decades Baird has portrayed himself as one of the few individuals who has always supported abortion, even more resolutely than the Abortion Establishment. So no surprise that PPFA refused to comment for the story.

Second, Baird has been a consistent presence at the National Right to Life Convention for decades. He’s not been there only when he was ill. Each time, local camera crews would come by to watch Baird and a handful of supporters march in front of the hotel.

He would get airtime and usually a flattering story in the local paper. Often times his coverage would be greater than what the convention received. (As a source says in the AP story, “Baird had a knack for attracting publicity.”)

Now, remember this is a man who not only uses our conventions to promote himself, but has also turned bashing pro-lifers in abusive language into an art form. In return, year after year, decade after decade, NRLC convention attendees have treated him with kindness and civility. Why?

Obviously, every person has his or her own reason. At the top of the list is that pro-lifers are very decent human beings.

On a side note the AP story fits into the dominant media narrative (which is intended to enhance the re-election prospects of President Obama)  that there are “forces” out there—“ political and religious forces”—busy trying to “turn back the clock,” a.k.a. the spurious “war on women.” We’ve heard that incessant and inane chatter for months and will as long as the President and his media supporters believe it increases his prospects for a second term.

But the truth will win out—that the real “war on women” is represented by the 600,000+female babies whose lives are taken every year in the United State alone.

In the meanwhile, it would not be at all surprising to see Baird at our convention this June just outside of the nation’s capital. I hope to see at least a thousand pro-lifers or more.

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