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the Body Politic
Vol. 01, No. 09 - September 1991, Page 28
Copyright © 1991, 1998 by the Body Politic Inc.
Editor's Desk

A Chance to Interview Larry Lader

By Anne Bower

When the call came from Larry Lader telling me that he would be delighted to do an interview for the Body Politic, I was overwhelmed. He is someone who has devoted most of his life to the fight for reproductive rights -- and someone who was there at the beginning. I needed to talk to him. I needed to find out what keeps him going.

Larry Lader is a piece of reproductive rights history. He was one of the midwives in attendance at the birth of legal abortion in America. He even acted as a Lamaze coach beforehand, insisting that activists work for repeal -- not reform. He organized events, risked jail to help women obtain abortions, and insisted in 1968 that organizations ban together to promote the agenda of repeal. Out of this, NARAL was born in 1969.

But unlike some pieces of history, Larry Lader has not contented himself with moldering in a museum. He is still the tireless warrior and strategist. His latest book on RU 486 explains the potential for this drug medically and politically and offers a strategy to bring it to America. Mr. Lader believes that the availability of RU 486 will make the abolition of legal abortion and the harassment of women seeking abortion, much more difficult.

I went to Mr. Lader because the days ahead seem so dark and many who work on this issue are so tired. I needed to talk to someone who had always stayed the course. He had no sermon to preach. He just insisted that you can't give up, but he isn't sure what has kept him going. Certainly, Larry Lader's whole life bespeaks a devotion to social causes. But there may be more to the story. Perhaps Margaret Sanger's passion was infectious.

It was an honor to interview Mr. Lader and in future months the Body Politic will interview others who figure in reproductive rights history. The October issue will feature an article on Connie Cook, the Ithaca Republican who introduced New York State's legal abortion law in 1970. Other interviews are planned. I look forward to talking to these pioneers of freedom.

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