Freedom Writer - March 1995
Dear Mr. Baird:
Thank you for your recent letter. I read it with great interest.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre has and will continue to support peaceful
and prayerful protest in opposition to abortion. We believe that abortion
terminates human life and that it is our duty to oppose this clear
violation of human rights.
As you know, the diocese remains steadfastly opposed to the use of
violence by some who claim to be anti-abortion. Our opposition to
all violence has been long-standing and well-known. We will not own
the rhetoric which attempts to connect our peaceful witness with those
who act in an anti-life way. Such individuals represent the opposite
of what it means to be pro-life.
Some recent articles suggested that elements of the pro-choice movement
no longer approve of your continuing role as a spokesperson for their
cause. Please know that you are very welcome to join those of us who
work for the protection of the pre-born and their mothers. Our prayers
remain with you.
With kind regards, I am sincerely,
Bishop of Rockville Centre_
Dear Bishop McGann:
I received your letter postmarked February 3rd, today, responding
to my January 20th letter. In my letter I appealed to you to help
stop this holy war against pro-choice Americans.
Your letter pretends you and your church have no responsibility in
this holy war, stating, "We will not own the rhetoric which attempts
to connect our peaceful witness with those who act in an anti-life
History will hold you and your church accountable for the rhetoric
of hatred that your institution has used which has created this anti-abortion
climate of violence. Your anti-abortion director has publicly supported
the criminal blockades of clinics which have caused violence nationally.
St. Anne's Church in Brentwood has held a public Mass for my soul
as if your institution is in some morally superior position to me
as a Unitarian humanist. Death threats resulted from that fiasco.
Your Cardinal O'Connor compares abortion to the Nazi Holocaust. The
Pope calls birth control "intrinsically evil." Cardinal Law "envies"
those in jail for criminally blockading clinics. Both Cardinals Law
and O'Connor give their "blessings" to blockaders. Deceased Cardinal
Medeiros (Boston) produced a handbook, Abortion Against Life, in which
he inflamed passions by stating, "Get angry! Get outraged! When do
we declare war against abortion? ... You will be punished for your
inaction." The Immaculate Conception Church in Marlboro, Mass., several
years ago flew a black flag at half mast with a huge sign cruelly
stating, "This flag flies at half mast to protest the presence of
Bill Baird, peddler of death." Cardinal Medeiros supported this insult
publicly. A baby of a supporter was denied baptism.
The viciousness of your church's inflammatory rhetoric appeared on
_The_Boston_Pilot_ editorial page several years ago which headlined
"Bill Baird gives me the creeps": "I sense the presence of evil ...
in the abortionist Bill Baird.... A chill goes through my blood."
Cardinal Law had written me a hateful letter stating, "I implore you
to abandon the promotion of death...abortion...an unspeakable horror...a
crime against humanity...the programmed extermination of human life...the
killing must stop."
Last Saturday the police investigated a bullet hole at my home that
was apparently aimed at me. I have endured many death threats particularly
when you and District Attorney Dillon, along with 4,000 supporters,
demonstrated in front of my clinic terrorizing patients and staff.
Your letter also states that "elements of the pro-choice movement
no longer approve of your continuing role as spokesperson for their
cause. Please know that you are very welcome to join those of us who
work for the protection of the pre-born and their mothers." (If embryos
are pre-born, following your logic, are we then pre-dead?) You are
misinformed to think that although times are very difficult for me
with my clinic being closed, etc., that I am vulnerable to your offer
to join you. Lately I have been getting more and more offers to switch
sides a la the pro-choice movement's Benedict Arnold, Dr. Bernard
My life is committed to the freedom and dignity of all Americans to
be able to make their own decisions regarding birth control and abortion.
I never will betray those principles that have jailed me eight times,
put me deeply in financial debt, and cost me a family. (I was jailed
in Huntington, L.I. for endangering the morals of a 14-month-old baby.
The five arresting police thought I adversely affected the baby's
morals because I exhibited birth control and abortion devices at a
lecture.) I will fight to the death the oppression against individual
reproductive rights that your church has attempted to impose on others,
not of their faith, for too long.
Your remarks about my not being a spokesperson for the pro-choice
cause has no foundation in reality. This February I am on a lecture
tour throughout Florida at the invitation of Broward NOW, Voice for
Choice, and the American Humanist Association (in which I serve as
national abortion rights coordinator). This past summer I was on a
10-day lecture tour throughout California. This fall I toured Missouri,
including being a featured speaker at Catholic St. Louis University
Law School. This was due to a 43-page article they requested from
me that was published in their law review. Over 50 awards have been
given to me from pro-choice groups including NOW, NARAL, etc.
Unfortunately, certain "feminists" have become sexists. Betty Friedan
calling me a CIA agent in _The_New_York_Times_ (4/13/93) is testimony
to their short-sightedness. Some feminists believe that men should
not be allowed to speak on the abortion issue, despite my three U.S.
Supreme Court victories which have benefitted millions. I am now politically
correct but sexually incorrect. Some feminists attacked me because
I had written some kind words upon the death of John Short, one of
your most loyal supporters. The letter was published in Newsday last
year. I spoke with John's grieving wife. Despite the criticism of
some "allies" it was the right thing to do.
Rest assured, neither your church, nor some of my allies will deter
me from my goal for the past 32 years: reproductive freedom, equality,
and dignity for all. I repeat my appeal for a peace meeting to discuss
ways of how to deescalate anti-abortion violence, as I did with Cardinal
Hickey in 1978. Please contact me before our nation is pushed into
a civil war.
Yours in freedom,
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