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See the gathering storm on abortion legislation the brownstone dwellers in South Brooklyn and an important move today by Human Rights Commission Chairman Eleanor Holmes Norton who is my guest in the studio. We begin by turning our eyes south towards the lower tip of Manhattan and an unusual landmark report by staff producer Ron Finley. It's coming. Would not be foretold by see a real profit. No by instrument or symbol or by any manner of singing voice. For its measure. That was not to be made. I. Recall. In later time Ancient's would tell of the Mighty Wind which was sent to a brought forth home from the center of the. Or of the great Buddh bearing a single seed in its beak. Would die upon reaching our shore leaving only the seed to sleep for 12 school year.
Beneath the clay of New Amsterdam. But in truth its story was not to be told not by sea nor profit. No by any manner of singing. For its measure. It was not to be made by me. And it came to pass in the time of the Port of New York authority in the age of Tishman and yours that the hour came when it should be delivered up and then only by the great shadow that was cast out upon the face of the land only by the weight of its mighty bulk thrust deep into the ground only by the tremble of earth beneath the feet and the shiver of the midday air. Only by the didn't cry that went up and which set all men and all manner of beast and fowl into great confusion. Only by these signs
as a great bird against the sun is known only by their shadow and ghosts only by these signs. Was it seen that the hour had indeed come and that the presence was at last made real and was here now man. This. Upon the face of the earth. Which had come to pass that the traders of the world had spoken as with a single voice saying let us come together in one place to make trade. And followed that the Kingdom of the Hudson had offered up its land. And artisans of Oriental wisdom and Western craft and come together saying what. Man building shall we make. Where in a house these trades. And when their calculations were done. They saw indeed the wisdom. Of the ancient ancients.
Even a man with twelve strong oxen will be hard put to fit all the tradesmen of the world. Into one building. So it was decreed. That there be two. And in fact more a plaza of buildings with two giant towers thrust into the sky. There are height many cubits higher than the flight of seven arrows shot by the strongest bone. And when these buildings were accomplished. Low even those who had made them stored in all of them and were filled with amazement at what they had done. These were the tallest buildings in all the world not counting Chicago and the manifestations of greatness. What indeed man evolved about. Here than the manifestations of greatness which were present in this creation in the excavation made to accommodate these buildings.
16 games a ball might have been played all at one time. Could such a thing have been desired. That a population of fifty thousand souls would occupy these towers each day a population yet once again as large as all of ancient Rome at the time just prior to its decline. Yet another eighty thousand souls would come each day. With. This one look at the place where the fifty thousand words. That all of these souls before the hour of sunset. Would. At once leave these buildings and enter into an opening in the ground where it was hoped that divine intervention. Would carry them to their home. That refuse in a way equal to that of a fully loaded Boeing 737 would issue forth from this colossus with each rising and
setting of the sun Sundays and holidays not included. At this. Great. Giant. Wouldn't drink from the nearby river water with which to cool itself in the quantity of 96 million gallons in each minute. And would disgorge each day into this same river. Two million gallons. Of raw sewage. An exchange. Which ancients believed may have given rise to the name by which the center was called. And its presence could be witnessed from. Even so far a point has been a mountain to the north and Asbury Park to the south. Even if you know. That it wouldn't be 100 feet taller than the Empire State Building. This indeed was made that he said. That. To smile into the face of the gods. To proclaim to all men and
all times that here indeed was a power beyond all others. It would have. Its own zip code. And it would sway 11 inches in the wind. Even Mount Olympus does not sway 11 inches. And here. Is. That under certain conditions and given certain circumstances of eating within these twin towers would produce their own cloud Markwell Therefore all you would scorn the smallness of man. And who would bring laughter and derision upon the works of his hand. WITNESS Well this that he has made this which has its own zip code and which produces its own cloud. Markwell. All you would do right.
The power of mortal men would presume to draw a circle. At the limits of his dog. You. Should. Stand with all. His might. Which went on by generations hands will speak clearer than any word of the people who were here in this time. We raise an unbelieving future. Mine is. The truth and incontestable vision. Of indeed. One. Man one man. Could dream such a great. Dust and rock a tomb in comprehensible. Mountain. Great. But.
In case you are in any doubt the voice was indeed that of Alexander Sgarbi who is a member of the Chell 13 family. The script by Clark Gessner. This rain fell in Canarsie today. Some thought it cooled down more than just pavement. 31 students from Brownsville told in houses there passed uneventfully through police lines and into the nearly empty halls of junior high school toon one one John Wilson School. People on both sides are said to be working to end the dispute. But the boycott is still on and the underlying fears tensions that have haven't formed. This whole tragic event. Hasn't disappeared yet.
We the combined Petey's of Canarsie as of yet have met with no one no one has made any compromises. No one has settled the issues involved. The boycott is strictly to get our community school boy back in power with full authority for anti-Red district zoning and nothing. Nothing I repeat can be settled until they have this authority back because they allow must resolve the situation and we have to take Regence I mean blue now like we have for applications and for different high schools now it's too late. You know have the child all over again. We meet with anybody. Anybody. Who helped to relieve this tension. So that we will have peace so that children can get back in school. I'm I'm disturbed over the fact that children are out of school. I'm talking about specifically to white children. We want them in
school. They're supposed to be having and getting an education. Today school tomorrow is going to be decided and it's going to be they are going to be here and this is going to be the end of what they want a break and they're going to break it. Again. I live in Milan I know what happened. Why did we learn from them. Why. Why are you telling me why. Why. Because they cannot walk on the street. They couldn't be in my. My dad was flip phone. They came in. They took what I wanted. How long did take. I live in a house that had six beautiful women. Everything that came in as soon as 15 years ago they started they cannot. No day no night. So you're scared that you're going to be the same thing. What did you think. I don't understand. How you get your message back. People come from Africa what did you all white people
do. Do you want to get it done go on saying oh yes you do you have to go you don't get it. Right right. If you don't like it. No I'm not a young lady. I'm 53 years old. You me get back with me was kidding around here. Go around in the kitchen and get me. Scrapbooks like y'all. You know when they say it but the black is getting up on top of the second scam. But let me tell you one thing we have a right to treat our right and we should all be all right. That's just me. Could go down go down. They took everything she and took everything from us. Yeah. Why can't they let them kids go down
and be down there in peace. Is there any chance for peace in this neighborhood. I don't know. I deserve a chance but like I do people have to get together and do it himself. Like it's tough you know. You know because I know they say like they wanted schools for the kids but that's impossible you know it really is you know like it's not it's just not fair to everyone else you know. I mean it's just not them. Richard Kotok film that report. Canarsie grief is not an isolated incident. New York's many people seem in the mood these days to fight for power rather than engage in the long patient struggle to work out the giving and taking that's required. If people are going to live harmoniously. The chairman of New York's Human Rights Commission Eleanor Holmes Norton says that tide can be reversed. And today she convened more than a dozen leaders of different ethnic and religious groups to see if they agreed. Did they. Agreed. And that's a hopeful sign in the midst of
a crisis. They agreed and their agreement has some weight in a. City in crisis because these were. Citywide leaders. People who. Are close to constituencies but have a citywide base. Give you some idea of what some of the things they said. There was for example a dialogue between Mario Cuomo the lawyer a mediator and. Calendar the black head of the urban coalition in which calendar one point expressed what I'm sure is on the minds of lots of black people. And yet got a meaningful answer and got a satisfactory answer from Cuomo and the sad fact is that every time blacks make a thrust forward they are whites and say they don't belong here. It's historically been the case and who knows but that it will always be the case and Cuomo took him on by saying that if if we can speak with whites particularly with ethnic whites out in the bars in
terms of practicalities and. And not in terms of moralists that there is in fact a vested interest they have. In confronting these problems the problems of distribution of population of what schools people go to that blacks are not going to disappear off into the ocean someplace. And he has discovered that people in India will listen to that. And Jean calendar's said if he found that an honest response in the sense that Mario was not appealing to people's moralism which lots of blacks don't believe exists any longer. He certainly said the middle class have to be persuaded. Well he started by saying in a statement that we got the middle class afraid the devices being used to uplift and alleviate the problems of the ghetto. Demand an inordinate sacrifice on their part on the part of the middle class and that they must be persuaded that these devices are necessary for their own good. Yes and their way to persuade them for example at a press conference held in advance of this meeting I announced that I would begin investigation of blockbusting
practices and Canarsie that had been reported to me as a result of the school situation and I asked people to call the commission and to send us reports about this the fact is we have the country's first blockbusting law and that ought to be put in motion right. Right at this moment. And people in Canarsie I asked to help me they help me by. By. Evening out the tension that Blockbuster's feed upon their vulture's when they see a community and disquieted they know that that's right. Paul picking picking people off and they come in and one way to stop that is to get kids back to school so they don't see this community is right for blockbusting indeed. Thomas quick of the NAACP talked about how 200 families in East flat in eastern New York 200 minority families who had been blockbusting in East New York lost their homes. On that that's the result of ball busting and there were other leaders there. Like Father Kennedy of the Brooklyn archdiocese who spoke about the need for particularly ethnic leaders to become involved in settling this dispute in the same time to work to maintain their
own credibility so that they are indeed valuable in settling such disputes and they will people like Haskel of the American Jewish Committee who's been working with us along with a number of other ethnic leaders to form a citywide ethnic coalition and you specifically asked me to put on the the agenda of a meeting now scheduled indeed scheduled for some weeks from November 14th to discuss the formal launching of this ethnic coalition to put some very specific issues on that agenda and I agreed to do so and Ralph Perata of the of the ethnic affairs Institute spoke about institutionalizing some of the techniques that had. Come spontaneously over the of Canarsie barricade. People were screaming out hey you guys why don't you come and talk with us. Even kids were doing that now. That was a very valid criticism of the city in this respect they said while the city was in the city have something that facilitates that dialogue. How come people have to spontaneously kind of ended over a
barricade. You know the sharpest criticism that many radical people have made of liberalism over the years is that liberalism is all talk and the talk delays action postpones action softens the need for action. Things don't change very much. As you listen to this talk today what did you feel about the possibility of action coming out of it or was it just more talk. What what came out of it was sufficiently was sufficiently significant in my view that that I'm going to report directly to the mayor and his cabinet tomorrow at eight o'clock cabinet meeting because very specific things came out for example Sylvia Dortch who recently appointed to be planning commissioner and who's the executive director of the American Jewish Congress said the first thing I want to ask the planning commission is how come in this city when one agency build something it doesn't know that another agency is building something at the same time. The tension that comes up because of lack of coordination among city state and federal agencies just about building he wants to straighten that out as a planning commission. A number of other things came up.
We were advised for example that all the community relations units in many city agencies ought to meet together more often as they do in the summertime they ought to do it all year round so there's coordination and development of an early warning system that you don't face with all surprises. Exactly exactly right. We have an excellent crisis office but that's just what it is a crisis office as opposed to an early warning system. I'm going to I'm going to speak to the mayor and his cabinet tomorrow and on specific suggestions that came out of this meeting like this. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Thank you. Your spirits are lifted my spirits are lifted by me. That's good news. And Canarsie the leaders of both sides today agreed that they shared the common goal of getting all the students back into school. And that sounds small but all effective compromise is paralyzed until a first step is taken. The Central Board of Education has demanded a settlement report of some kind by tomorrow and we anticipate some kind of proportional formula to emerge pretty soon. I'll be back after the weather news on abortion with a
third of our voter family reports on the fourth of our expirations of South Brooklyn. Chance of showers late Thursday and Friday morning partly cloudy Friday. We go. To. Bernie Russ grew up on the Lower East Side. So he's in his blood. Five
days a week sometimes sexy hustles a cab across its tangled patterns keep us up a non-stop rap about his beloved town Briney left his old neighborhood a few years ago after as he puts it that element began to move in. And today he and his wife Rita. Really how was the girl next door live with her three children in a quiet neighborhood in the north Bronx. It's a close knit family. Stewart a junior at CUNY is solid for McGovern which generates some pretty hefty arguments with his father who an ex-wife and reader. Well let's hear it from all of them in this third of Robert Anson's for family portraits. Used to be a fantastic neighborhood. Years ago. It was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. All the drama of the White. House. It was just great. It. Was. So great that I had the greatest time my childhood was the thought. Of. My kids. I show my kids where I used to live they don't believe. If they lived all had died.
I said Yes I lived over here. I don't believe. And I lived in this building right over here it was on a place that was my problem. I lived there for about 17 years. My folks. All safe we left the doors open about to key to my father. This area is Lower East. I was down with the Democratic. Party. We had at those time. They wanted to vote they would have to do something for the people if you needed any kind of job you went into the club you got it. You can't get that. I don't believe they work for themselves quite the. Right thing. When it benefits them not the working people. That's why we have poverty this photos as you see in the Shia neighborhoods this thing. That's how I feel. OK. Yourself. Right. I like it. What do you mean by what kind of neighborhood. I don't know. What kind of neighborhood isn't. Pleasant but nice people average
family. I think it's. Jewish an Italian. Can I say. Right. How do you fill up your day now that you're not. Employed. I sleep late. I watch soap operas on television. I read and I take. I do a lot of walking and I visit the library. I sit on the telephone more. Than I usually. Kathy. You say. I don't think that the average. Person. Really Cares. Maybe men more than women but I don't think if you get an average group of four or five women together they would sit down and talk about
politics because I think it is run by politicians who think that little people have anything to say. This is just my opinion. We support the big man. That's just the way I look at it. He gets away with murder and I mean of course Souter knows. I pay and pay and pay and pay. And don't see nothin for it. Not good enough for. The big man go scot free and all he gets away with everything he can enjoy his all I can't. Where does my tax money go. I wish I know. I can't even ask where my tax money goes. Because I don't see it on the streets of New York. Because we don't see it. The people don't seem to be able to affect politics. That's what's really bothering me and that's the way it should be. That's you know that's what it's supposed to be. And the Constitution of the United States it seems that even though the people have a vote you know it's more or less of. Just something put down on paper it doesn't seem to affect anything by like it really should have had a much greater effect on this election. It doesn't seem to have any effect.
I don't know whether you know it's you know set my hopes up for 72 or whether you know just to look forward to 76 one you know next will have to resign whether he likes it or not. I don't know. One. He's got to win votes in this way he's going to win votes you know he can win both by saying one thing and then going back and I guess another thing that he says right. Right. But he does go back. I remember reading the papers years ago or something. But they had this tape that they had made was that he wasn't that he was never full name for Israel just now that he's running for presidency. He also we can get it fixed in you know for him. That's that's wrong right away. That's. What Goffer. Never came out pro Israel. I'll grant you that right. But he never came out against Israel. He was against it. He wanted a balance of power. I don't think Israel should be you know any more superior than anyone else even though we do have relatives up here as well.
Israel is a big thing in the Middle East right. We need we needed a power in the Middle East. And Nixon promised you know to stop inflation in Iraq. True Right. Right. It's the same nonsense you give me what this is and I'm just telling you as a statement of what he said. Right. But actually Nixon makes a million promises and goes on TV and interpretation the right way. So that is your answer. Right. First of of this country to come out against our participation in the Vietnam War was send a signal. Why don't we come up with four years ago that was on your watch today and you'll be sorry you did. This phony guy did say Kissinger that's going around in secret in areas such as the United States people go around to make that last fall. Call the shots all them. We're doing it now. Wait. Mr. Nixon is staying in the background keeping his mouth shut not saying a word about anything or anybody. Therefore he cannot be accused of anything because he is
going to be accused of in the first place right. That's it that's that he put that right. This is bad right. His policy in the United States. Right. Well what you what you on the governance right let Lady that's why we live in America. That's why we live in a very good right. Now right now. Few people in my family are telling me where you can register and please go down and vote that they feel that this election is very important. My boys feel it's very important never having to tell me to go before they will telling me where and when you can register please vote. And I don't care if you want to vote for him if I say to you in good conscience vote for him you can't vote in good conscience. You want to vote Lindsey right. Good looking guy. You wanted to vote for Tomi's. Kennedy. So open. To.
Like you like Pat Nixon with a smile. And Julie Eisenhower goes and says I'll die for president too. Sure. She's surrounded by security guards in United States. When he gets on TV you don't believe what he's saying to. You when you think about only about 50 percent 60 percent of the people that are able to vote. So that 40 percent is millions of votes and you know the big decision. Now and the people that are undecided if the race is close might you know they might acquit Nixon like always like Possibly but they might bring going over the top. You know. Like. I told you I have probably think about maybe it means so much to you when you think that would be a big change. Can you register and. Then. If. You're just thinking now I guess I have to. Think what is the last name spelling. To. Change. Given the. Reader.
I. Really. No. Forty six. And this is. Just. You know. We're born in the United States. So. I. Think. You know. Just in case you're right they go into the polls. OK. Sure. All right. And to follow that up and put it in this. Box. Yes please. Let me. Put in a. Lot. Of our political families tomorrow night and then on election night. All four of them will be here live in the studio to say why they voted. Brownstones in South Brooklyn and women for abortion. Still ahead in the 60 minute edition of the fifty first state. Fred college has been guiding us through the ethnic communities of South Brooklyn where he
thinks there's still a chance to build a real community. And strangely one of the ethnic groups that he has identified are the owners of the brownstone houses. Let's have a look at his report. And you. Can do a lot of the people you see here our brownstone at play and at rest. This is a block party South Brooklyn a community where it's still possible to see different ethnic groups living in relative peace with each other segregated to be sure we're still in relative peace. One of those groups. Not really an ethnic group by the usual standards and certainly a distinct category of songs. Brooklyn is the brownstone. Usually on a Saturday you will find brown stoners in the lumber yards buying building materials or borrowing old bricks and stained glass windows
from urban renewal signage or painting plastering or plumbing or stripping shutters trying to keep the brownstone from falling down. But you also find them at the walk for which we have a lot of room and shelf room for block parties and bring people together in brownstone in New York. Barely even people. Heard and BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. How long have you lived here. We bought the house in July of 1970. I've only actually lived here since November of last year though. Nice. We had an architect which we hired and we had. Know plans drawn up and we then had construction done by a contractor.
So a real brownstone. Yes. You. Did it. Well I don't know. I to find a real brownstone or somebody who's nutty enough to do his own work. You know major construction work and I don't I'm not a real Braunstein in that sense I don't have that kind of skill but I suppose in the sense of having gone into an area that some people would consider marginal I don't. And having spent a fair amount of money to renovate the house that makes me proud. Or you're broken in spirit. And go billfolds certainly. Not spirit. I mean if I was broken in spirit we wouldn't have had this repaired. Oh absolutely. I mean sure I have much more space than I than I could have for anything near the money that is essentially costing me on a monthly. Cost basis. And I own the place as opposed to filling somebody else's pocket. And so yeah it's much and I have nice high ceilings and yeah it's definitely more aesthetic. Perhaps well. Maybe I can best put
that this way. We moved in here in November and. We gave a party. In the second week in December and we had 25 people here and they were all young couples who lived within a 30 second walk from our front door. That's great. You know I know my neighbors and I like them and it doesn't matter that some of them are Syrians or Lebanese who have been here for 40 years and some of them are Chinese have been here for 25 years who is tolerant. So they tolerate us. But they've made us feel welcome and they join in everything that we want to do is as Brom's donors. And. So it's a good neighborhood in that sense. What's the worst thing ever happened to you as a brownstone a stoner. I guess the worst thing that ever happened to me is a brownstone. When I got back did some of the contractors work twice what we had expected. We were really babes in the world and we didn't know what we were getting into we thought we did we thought we heard all you know all the horror stories and more stories about it.
But I don't think we had any idea what they were getting into. And I think it I think that if we had we probably would not have done it I think it would have occurred. Just the financial aspects of it the fact that. We've spent an awful lot of money. You still have an awful lot to do and we're not sure where the money is coming from do it. But you know it's going to take a lot longer to do it than we would have liked if you're a brownstone or in South Brooklyn or any place else in New York. You spend an inordinate amount of time scraping building plastering dipping stripping and deep in debt to various contractors. There's no rest from it. Even on national holidays one Labor Day weekend I broke my arm in this house when I should have been off trying to catch trial. And instead I was trying to fix a ceiling but it's worth it. In a brownstone you can turn the amplifier volume all the way up to 10. You can have all the privacy you want and the rent stays where it is. And for some people it's even more ultimate thrill to owning a
brownstone. And that comes when they're asked to put their brownstone on the House tour. For. Find a way to get that chandelier and that's just the kind chandelier for dining down in the lamp district give me a white board. The two of them to mention it's not right there and that it's down Canal Street and I know that there and just wander around. But they've got everything keep looking. Great. Yeah. That you took out or was that an open area. Central Hall was just the way you find it now. You know we retain the arch. I think it's already pretty just broke out the Centerport come on and it's all right. We're just down. Yes. We've. Faced. Considerably rephase right.
Now. I don't know whether it's movies or whether you've just really cemented in between the breaks you know it's you know it takes a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of money and a lot of energy. If you manage to renovate one and you're not divorced by the end. No matter how your house. And we do what we can ourselves and other things we for. So it's. Worth. Asking what most people seem to be interested in the floors you know how do you sand them. They ask several people asked questions about the shared back yard arrangement. They want to know whether the fireplaces are working. They're interested in whether your child really keeps his room the way it looks today. And of course that's obvious. You know. How long you've lived here how much it's cost how much time you know you've put into it whether you used an architect who
was with to specific questions rather than the big heavy ones like is it worth it. Yeah. Well that depends on when you're asked Isn't it true that the building on the house too is in the. Conical brownstone. I suppose it is. I mean you know you I guess you sort of arrived or something when you've gotten your house together and yourself together enough. To. Be on a tour. How much commitment to urban America is there. I'm living in a brownstone. Well I have and my husband has tremendous commitment. To the city in general and specifically to the neighborhood and I suppose to some degree to the block. And if you move in I suppose if you invest in the neighborhood. By you know putting your money down the house and then you get involved in a nursery school and then you fight for a car and you have something to do with the placement of a junior high school and you act as a volunteer and. Work on a poverty program and so forth with you know by the
time you got through you really are very involved and that's it becomes a whole way of life. So you get a lot of quality financial investment in this term brownstone people are really well off and Kimper comparison with other people in New York and. I think they are if they've gotten their friends down finished and had a year or two to recuperate during that during the time that it's going on. You know you don't have that extra money. And you're not feeling yourself at some of the things that you came to the city to take advantage of. You know you go out and buy another can of paint and paint something instead of going out and buying theater tickets. If you had your druthers between living here or any place else for what would you choose. Well I guess if I had my druthers which is to say that if I were as rich as that takes. I would own a brownstone. I don't know
63 Street in Manhattan. Because that to me. I mean that's you're talking about the same having the possibility of the same community feeling. You're talking about having a much much nicer. You know one area that that isn't coming back it came back 10 years ago or 15 years ago. And you're talking about the convenience of living in a living in Manhattan. For somebody who works there and who plays there from the standpoint of the theater and this kind of thing. But you wouldn't have Syrians. Lebanese or Chinese you had the Russian embassy. I'd be better off with me here. But so many demonstrations. Yeah you're right. That's something and that's something we'd miss. It's marvelous to be able to walk less than five minutes from your house and go to a really good Near-Eastern restaurant. You walk into some of these stores on
Atlantic Avenue and then you know it's like walking into heaven the smell is so fantastic. All the Eastern spices. We have now we have a marvelous Chinese restaurant up on the court street that we frequent all the time. Yeah. I'd just like honestly. But the 60s ain't bad. And what happened last year up in Albany is that we were just all gone. We were outmaneuvered. We were all fought for the right to life forces. And I really felt very ashamed of myself and I think everybody sitting in this chamber and everybody who is a believer in the right of a woman to decide whether or not to have an abortion ought to be a shame because we never should have lost that fight.
They say that women aren't really passive but I wonder if that's not the fact. There have been for almost half a million women who had abortions since it became legal. And yet when it was time to write to the legislature what did they do where were they. She may be right. Last spring the legislature in Albany moved to repeal New York's liberal abortion law and it was a man save the Governor Rockefeller with a gubernatorial veto the powerful citizen pressure them came from the largely Roman Catholic right to life groups. It'll be interesting as the fight shapes up again this winter to see whether the women's liberation movement which holds as a cardinal Tenet the sacred right of each individual woman to choose or reject abortion to mobilize its forces effectively Wolner the Women's National Abortion action coalition has begun marathon hearings on the subject that's immersed and covered the first battle to keep abortion legal in New York State is on and it's an uphill fight.
Recently five hundred women and some men took part in a day of abortion hearings in NY use law center. They met to educate themselves and to analyze the opposition to plot strategy which includes satirising whoopsies the unborn and then they heard feminist Florence Kennedy explain why some black women equate abortion with forced sterilization and there were differences. No one's ever claimed the women's movement is unified despite what drew the audience together was hearing the testimony of women who'd had to undergo illegal abortions. In September 1954 I had an illegal abortion in Philadelphia. It was done in the doctor's office during his hours without anesthetic and my husband waited in the outer room. My girlfriend lied across me to keep me from crying out from the pain. I thought the abortion was complete. I came home to New York and continue to have morning sickness and to bleed. This went on for almost a month.
At the end of the month I went into very severe labor began to hemorrhage and was taken to MRSA in the hospital about five o'clock in the morning. I was very young and I thought I was dying. I was frightened and I thought the only way they can help me is if I tell them the truth. That was my big mistake. I told them that I had a borsch an abortion. The doctor said I wish you hadn't told me I have to report it now. By eight o'clock that morning every cop in the third or fourth precinct was around my bed. They put a screen around there. They abused me and harassed me and it was it was a nightmare. I'd like to say that the only kindness I had in March they knew was from a girl who shared the next bed. She was a member of the black community and learned very early that you don't tell them the facts. Tommy and I became very close friends. She came to see me while I was in the hospital after she got out. She died in
September 1961. As a result of an illegal abortion she died of MRSA in the hospital. I've never gotten over that either. She left five children and I find out that I was pregnant. So I guess I wasn't using any contraception because I was really Catholic and I was just totally dominated by this boyfriend who said everything would be OK and then all of a sudden I was pregnant. So he had gotten abortion from his girlfriend before me from the same place. And I remember one day after school we just got in his car and went to this place in Buffalo. I was living in Syracuse from my home. And we met this guy in a gas station and he took me in his car and told my boyfriend to just get lost for a while told him the name of a bar to go to anyone that let him come. And the guy took me to an apartment and some some
street and went into the apartment and he had me undress and put on this bathrobe and he just started just like fondling me. You know being pretty obnoxious by this man comes in and does. I don't know what he did to me put something up inside me and put some some stuff inside. And then we heard a whole lot and I was crying and falling falling apart and everything. It was just not right. It was really really or the doctor kept grabbing me inch and not trying and kissing me and saying keep your legs together. Oh this is incredible stuff. So finally I got I was half dressed holding and my coat just falling apart walking down the stairs and he kept saying holding me up and saying Smile because people are watching you know neighbors and stuff so I was like try to smile and you kind of threw me into this car we drove a little ways to the bar. My boyfriend came out kind of like cured me from that kind of the other car and then we drove.
We just kept We just our driver would go a long way to get to someplace where I could abort and I aborted. I want to find out when I want to have children up with the right to have children and then work on some political realities where I've got friends like her who co-sponsored New York's abortion law reminded people that the battle against right to lifers would be fought in Albany right to life groups. Small bunch of fanatics came up there and work that state legislature as it's never been worked before and the people in favor of abortion stayed home. We couldn't get him out. We sent telegrams phone calls letters to all of the groups who had been so effective in 1970 and helping us to pass the humane law and we somehow just couldn't get people excited. Maybe it was the belief but the state legislature couldn't do such an insane act as to repeal the 1970 law. Anybody who thinks that doesn't know how insane the
state legislature can be. There's no depth to the insanity. But the state legislature can read. We ought to be out there and we ought to be scaring the hell out of those people who voted to repeal the present law and unless we do this. And unless you're willing to go into the arena where the fight is fought whether you like that arena or not it happens to be in the present political process. With the present state legislature and you can be very effective. But if you don't want to fight in that arena because you don't believe in some respects relevant or meaningful or is dirty and you'd rather discuss the issue off by yourself in some other form you're going to lose the fight again and this time you may lose it completely. You're dealing with the right to life say 6 percent of the people. But with the politicians the legislators know that this is the 6 percent who whatever their
stand on other issues however good they are on other issues their vote on abortion is what's going to determine whether the 6 percent votes or not most elections go 55 45 6 percent difference. The problem with pro-abortion is with the women with the men who are pro-abortion is that we haven't been willing to use that bullet. If you haven't been willing to say whatever your stand is on the war on taxes on anything else it's how you stand on abortion. That's going to get you my vote or losing my vote. It's that kind of bullshit balloting that gives the right to lifers their power. Mr. after a legislator with a fetus in a bottle you know who says this is a life you want to kill it. That seems to have an enormous impact in all that. You're saying this is how it was done before. The current law and we don't want to go back to that. I think that's one way of countering with a strong Snapdeal. Senator Roy Goodman with his coathangers saying this is what was done before legal
abortions were the rule in New York state that all the testimony here this morning that include every woman that was here that already told the story and every woman that didn't get a chance to tell her own personal story and MIT and thousands of others were going to get up there at a marathon presentation to the legislators and selves about what this means to women not to be able to obtain legal abortions for days not far away and birth control will be required by law. I mean after everyone had spoken who wanted to Irene Duval let the audience have it. We've got to make noise. We've got to cause trouble. The last thing that an oppressed person can afford to be slow says is reasonable and it seems to me that what has been done here today is reasonable what Frank fans like to suggest suggested seems to me to be also exceedingly reasonable. He didn't call for us to burn down the Capitol. He might have. He didn't call for us to burn down St. Patrick's Cathedral. He might have what he did was to ask us we're here
today. And those of us who are committed to this movement to spend some time in Albany talking to insurance agents and lawyers middle class white men who sit up there making the laws of the oppressed you not the right to life people have been up there they take the last year they took a bus load up a week. I want to see the hands of all of the people here who were promised that they will go to Albany at least five times during this next legislative session. There isn't even one time a week one two three four. Well we've lost the law. You know if this is the enthusiasm that has been generated today we've lost a lot. How many of you were promised to go four times. That's why you want to I want to see every hand here when I come to you next year after we've lost this law and say let's bring them down then you'll understand that the five times you didn't go to Albany didn't say. So well the spirit of proabortion may be strong hardnosed organizing is still
weak. The two women are here tonight who geared up politically to keep abortion legal in New York and their Ross Graham who's with Coalition for free choice a group that's given time and money to get candidates elected in the primaries and on November 7th. And Barbara SHAC who heads the Women's Rights Project For The New York Civil Liberties Union and she's also coordinator of Citizens for abortion rights and religious liberty. And Ross what are the races now in which abortion is a key issue. There are five or six in the city areas more if you go up throughout the state. I'd like to say first of all that the coalition which formed right after the last session was involved in the primaries says well we were involved in 11 primaries and we won eight of them so that we do have a track record of sorts. Our involvement in races is based on several criteria. Syria first of all. The abortion should be an issue and it must be a marginal race where we can make a
difference. And obviously the two major candidates must be in opposition on the issue. In some instances where protecting people who voted properly last year and in other instances we're running against people who voted wrong to get specific. Urban tests in Nassau County has been very good on the issue all along. It is in a very very tight race. He was redistricted into an issue in which it would be easier for the other side. And that he's really running it and abortion is the major issue there. He's doing a lot of advertising on that issue. We have been working with him very closely. Another race which is very important to me is Sam Landau in Westchester who is running against an incumbent admires and that's especially important because Mr. Meyers was one who said he was with us and then changed his mind and voted improperly. And
so that if we can elect Sam land we will really have shown. What we can do. All right Barbara. After the election you're going to get geared up in Albany. What do you plan to do. Well we plan to organize the majority the majority is now 71 percent of New Yorkers who favor the right to legal abortion. How do you know that. That's the latest polls have shown that the latest poll last month was commissioned by CBS. Throughout the state New York State 71 percent of New Yorkers actually favor the right to legal abortion and 60 percent of Catholics. Now. Citizens for abortion rights and religious liberty will be really an umbrella under which we plan to organize a statewide citizen's lobby. We're going to be organizing by assembly district. And we'll be reaching out to women's rights groups clergy. Laymen. Civil liberties people and individual men and women who are dedicated to this. The
right to an abortion and foreign delegations in each assembly district and bring them down to Albany. As Mr. liked him on the field said we must. Show the legislature that the majority is not going to sit back and take it this year and let the minority prevail. How do you feel about the fact that the commitment of the Right to Life people is apparently so much stronger than the commitment of your people the right to lifers get people who don't. But you people go to meetings but they won't go up there and lobby. Well I think that's not true. I think that we will be there. You weren't. You were not in that meeting that we saw on film produced three or four hands of people willing to go up what I already have hundreds of volunteers men and women who have agreed to head up delegations in assembly districts from Binghamton to Coney Island. They're willing to go. I don't really know what that response was. I don't believe that there are signs that the majority isn't committed. We were caught unaware last year. We didn't expect that bill to come in so we couldn't mobilize they they were working all year.
And what what might happen next year. Well Governor Rockefeller veto another bill or will he even be there. Well that's a major question whether he'll be there if. If the president is re-elected and decides to take Mr. ruffler to Washington. And Mr. Rockfeller decides to go. Then we'll have Malcolm Wilson as the governor and believe me he'll walk the bill through himself the first day. That's how strongly he feels about that. So it really is so it's a family type problem and we can't win the issue on the 7th of November. But we but we can preserve it long enough for us to be able to win it in January of this month that March 1st and we'll be reporting on the work. The Right to Life movement tonight at 10:30 Robert. It's a special hour long tradition the fifty first state dealing with the prospects of peace in Vietnam. A large and impressive roster of contributors and we will be exploring the meaning of a cease fire for Vietnam itself and the reality or otherwise of a provocative phrase a peace dividend for America or be observations
from Paris or Washington. That's a special edition of Fifty first Street later tonight at 10:30 on show. I'm Patrick Watson. And I'll be back tomorrow night. June 2. 2. 2. 2. 2.
2. 2. 3
The 51st State
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Thirteen WNET
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Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
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The 51st State is a nightly news series featuring reports on local New York City news and current events.
Ron Finley reports on the planning, construction, and opening of the World Trade Center. A film reports on the racial segregation and tension in the Canarsie neighborhood and school system. Patrick Watson and Eleanor Holmes Norton talked about the Canarsie school situation. Robert Anson presents a personal profile of Bernie Roth, a taxi driver who grew up on the Lower East Side, but now lives in the North Bronx. Fred Powledge reports on the integration of brownstone houses in South Brooklyn. Betsy Marston reports from abortion hearings at NYU's Law Center, on the right to life/choice debate. An in studio discussion follows.
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Producing Organization: Thirteen WNET
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Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_1656 (WNET Archive)
Format: Betacam: SP
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Chicago: “The 51st State,” 2004-11-17, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2023,
MLA: “The 51st State.” 2004-11-17. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2023. <>.
APA: The 51st State. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from