A Menace to Society: a historical docudrama based on events in the life of Bill Baird

A Menace to Society

a historical docudrama based on the life of Bill Baird

Why Bill Baird Matters

When an unmarried woman fills her birth control prescription she doesn't think of him. When a teenage boy purchases condoms over-the-counter he doesn't think of him. When a woman exercises her right to an abortion she doesn't think of him. And when anyone asserts that they have a "right to privacy" they don't think of him.

Perhaps all of us should think of Bill Baird whose U.S. Supreme Court case Baird v. Eisenstadt legalized birth control on March 22, 1972. The case was quoted six times in the high court abortion decisions and five times in the gay rights victory in 2003, Lawrence v. Texas. His monumental achievements for human rights have been marginalized by many who should have publicly lauded his contributions.

Bill Baird

A soon-to-be finished biography, five years in the making, charts his unlikely rise from being a painfully shy Depression Era boy on the mean streets of East New York in Brooklyn to being labeled "The Father of the Abortion Movement" and champion for women's rights.

The impetus to Baird's over four decade pioneering work was the death of an African American unmarried mother of eight from a coat hanger abortion. While he was doing clinical research for a pharmacuetical company, she stumbled into the hospital corridor and died in his arms because at that time, she was denied even the right to birth control much less abortion.

His 1967 arrest in challenging Massachusetts's "Crimes Against Chastity, Decency and Good Order" law resulted in every citizen of our nation being able to access birth control. Arrested eight times in five states for merely lecturing on birth control and abortion in the 1960s, Baird endured a harrowing prison sentence at the Charles Street Jail in Boston where he endured rats in his cell, bugs in his food, lice on his prison mattress and humiliating body searches by guards.

Despite opposition from his enemies and surprisingly allies (Betty Friedan labeled him a "CIA agent" and Planned Parenthood said he was an "embarrassment" and "nut") Bill Baird not only took the road less traveled but carved out roads where non had ever existed.