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,
Most Reverend John R. McGann, D.D.
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 way."
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 Nathanson.
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,
Bill Baird is the president of the Pro-Choice Defense League, PO Box 324, Huntington, NY 11743.