Lawrence Lader Papers Open to Research

By , September 9, 2015

Book Cover

The Lawrence Lader papers, 1948-1996 (inclusive), 1969-1991 (bulk), are the product of Lader’s activities as an abortion rights advocate, founder and president of Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM), co-founder of National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, which later became the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and author and journalist. The papers contain records related to the administration of ARM and NARAL, ARM’s legal activities regarding RU-486 and the Catholic Church’s tax-exempt status, as well as Lader’s writings on abortion rights and family planning, with related research records.

Lawrence Lader (1919-2006), AB, 1941, Harvard University, was a journalist and abortion rights activist, co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws and founder of Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM). He wrote extensively on abortion and reproductive rights. Lader was born in New York City in 1919 and served with Armed Forces Radio in the Pacific Theater during World War II, where his dispatches were published in the New Yorker. In Abortion, published in 1966, Lader argued that the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court decision, which extended privacy to sexuality and family planning, could also be applied to abortion. The book was cited multiple times in the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. Lader was among a group that co-founded the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws in 1969. After the Supreme Court decision, the group was renamed the National Abortion Rights Action League. Lader left NARAL in 1976 to found Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM). The group actively sought the legalization in the United States of the abortion drug RU-486 (mifepristone). Also through ARM, Lader sued the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church, because of its political lobbying on abortion.

Lader authored The Bold Brahmins: New England’s War Against Slavery (1961), Power on the Left: American Radical Movements since 1946 (1980), Politics, Power and the Church (1987), and A Private Matter, RU-486 and the Abortion Crisis (1995) .

The finding aid for the Lader papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

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