Robert Livingston hasn’t performed an abortion in years, but at one point he had no qualms about flouting his disobedience of the laws that made providing safe abortion care illegal.
Today’s political climate, on the other hand, is so emotionally charged and dangerous, he had stopped talking about his past all together.
Via North Jersey.com:
As a doctor providing illegal abortions in the 1960s, Robert Livingston was once so fearless that he performed hundreds of procedures in an office that overlooked the Englewood Cliffs police station. He even held a press conference in 1972 to out himself as an illegal abortion doctor because he so believed in a woman’s right to choose, an action that earned him an indictment.
Robert Livingston made the front page of The Record twice in August 1972 when he and another doctor were indicted.
Now, 40 years later, times have changed.
Livingston, once a lightning rod in the North Jersey abortion debate, now avoids telling anyone about his role in that chapter of American history, even though he strongly maintains his belief that abortions ought to be legal. The issue, he says, has become so emotionally charged that he no longer feels comfortable talking about it — not to the colleagues of his grown children and not to the residents of what he described as a conservative retirement community where he now lives.
“I would be afraid,” he said, adding that he believes the stigma of being an abortion doctor is greater than it was in the 1960s, when it was illegal to perform the procedure. “The atmosphere is so ominous now. I wouldn’t know where to begin.”
That it is now considered a more dangerous political climate for doctors who perform abortions than it was back when they were doing it illegally should tell us a great deal about how the right to a “legal” abortion has been cut off — mainly through intimidation, threats, and actual violence.