Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict That Divided America

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9780312426576: Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict That Divided America
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 A Booklist Editors' Choice of the Year On October 23, 1998, Barnett Slepian, an abortion provider in Buffalo, New York, was killed by a sniper's bullet. Days later, another local doctor, Shalom Press, received a threat that he was "next on the list." Within hours, the Press family was under police protection, and America's violent struggle over abortion had come to the blue-collar city of Buffalo. In Absolute Convictions, Press recounts his family's experience with protesters outside his father's clinic, patients who braved the gauntlet of demonstrators, and politicians who attempted to appease both sides. With remarkable sensitivity, Eyal Press "plunges into, and transcends, a polarized debate that makes partisans of us all" (The Nation).

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About the Author:

Eyal Press is a regular contributor to The Nation and The American Prospect, and his articles have appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Mother Jones. He lives in New York City.

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Naturally, I've thought often about why my father has persisted in doing something that so many other doctors in his line of work have for good reason given up. I've thought as well about what I would do in his shoes. My father insists his decision to remain an abortion provider is not a political act but a function of his professional responsibilities. But are those professional responsibilities worth risking his life for?
To know that one's parents will not live forever--that they are mortal, like everyone else--is part of what it means to be an adult. To imagine they might be targeted by an assassin on account of a commitment to some abstract principle is quite another. Theoretically, such a thing ought to fill one with pride. But who among us would like to see a parent become a martyr?
In a way no abstract situation could, my father's experience has forced me to think hard about the tension between remaining true to one's convictions and
the practical necessity of surviving in the world. This is something that has always fascinated me, perhaps because, as Dr. Slepian's murder would reveal, it touches on a rift within my family: between the defiant Israelis on one side, and those with a vivid memory of surviving the Holocaust on the other.

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9780805077315: Absolute Convictions: My Father, a City, and the Conflict that Divided America

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ISBN 10:  0805077316 ISBN 13:  9780805077315
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co., 2006
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