Do you enjoy sex?
Do you use protection?
Do you know who made it legal for YOU to use it?
99% of people couldn’t name who. Go to BU? Did you know that it was BECAUSE OF BU THAT UNMARRIED PERSONS CAN USE BIRTH CONTROL.
Let me just say that again so you can fully comprehend that- IT WAS BECAUSE OF BU THAT PEOPLE CAN HAVE SAFE SEX.
And how many people know that at BU? Zilch. Nada. It was in 1967 when the social crusader Bill Baird was invited by a petition of over 600 BU students to come to Boston and fight the current law, which made distribution, possession and education of birth control (including condoms, the pill, contraceptive foam) a felony and a five year prison sentence. It may seem hard to believe now that something the school gives out openly, used to merit a jail sentence. Bill Baird, risking up 5 years in prison, came to BU to fight the law.
Thus, in April, 1967 in front of an overflow crowd of 2,500 students, the largest ever turnout in the history of the school, Bill Baird gave a condom and contraceptive foam to an unmarried woman and was sentenced to 3 months in the horrible Charles Street Jail. At the same time, the ACLU, who had previously pledged to support his fight, abandoned him to fight the case alone. Most astonishing, the president of Planned Parenthood called him “an embarrassment,” for in those days Planned Parenthood was staunchly anti-abortion.
In 1972, the Supreme Court finally heard his case and ruled on the side of Baird in Baird v. Eisenstadt, giving unmarried persons the right to use birth control. Justice Brennan issued a statement as part of the case which established the right to privacy, which was subsequently cited in 6 other Supreme Court cases- including Roe v. Wade .
Clearly the work this man did should not be forgotten, least of all by BU students, but inexplicably near no one knows about him and his work. This Tuesday, November 8th, at 7pm in CAS211, Bill Baird will be returning to BU to speak for the first time since he was arrested over 40 years ago. I urge everyone to come out and hear him talk about his incredible life, and what it means to every single person.
I am personally astonished, embarrassed and disgusted that the legacy of Baird and his accomplishments has been hidden from the history of Boston University and the history of the United States. This man dedicated his life to save the lives of women who died as a result of botched abortions and to fight on the principle of justice. His reward? Losing his family, a forgotten memory and living on meager social security checks. I implore everyone, come to see him to show that even though our university may be much different then the 60′s, there are still people who believe in justice, safety and respect.