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Abortion rights advocate protests, then joins Right to Life convention

 

Staff Writer

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
6/25/2010

   
  Lifelong picketer Bill Baird, sometimes called the father of the abortion rights movement, spent Thursday fighting for the right to protest the very convention for which he had signed up.

Mr. Baird, 78, who once ran the nation's first abortion clinic, was among those attending the National Right to Life Convention at the Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport on Thursday. A regular attendee, his routine for decades has been to picket from 11:30 to noon on behalf of abortion rights, then join his rivals for lunch inside.

"He and I vigorously support each other's right to protest," said the Rev. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life and a longtime acquaintance.

On Thursday, Mr. Baird ran headlong into airport rules that limit pickets. After a few hours of back-and-forth between airport officials and the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Baird was cleared to take up his post outside the hotel, raise a sign calling for greater use of birth control, then return inside, where he is among Right to Life convention attendees with the longest history of attendance.

   
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