19 July 2017 |Joey Peters | The Santa Fe Reporter
“If Curtis Boyd lives by one professional mantra, it’s this: Unless a woman has full autonomy over her body, she lacks full citizenship and lives instead as a second-class citizen.
The controversial and celebrated abortion provider explains this thoughtfully on a hot, dry Fourth of July day in his Albuquerque office. A wiry man of 80 years, Boyd wears a gray surgical gown and says he’s working the holiday because the type of procedure that his clinic, Southwestern Women’s Options, is known for requires multiple days.
The clinic sits near I-25 on Lomas Boulevard, a crowded east-west thoroughfare on the edge of downtown Albuquerque. Across the street looms a pink billboard paid for by the group Prolife Across America. “Save the babies, heartbeat 18 days,” pleads the text. An infant’s chubby face peers out at passersby, a reminder of the ire against Southwestern Women’s Options even on days when no protesters show up.
Boyd speaks softly with a twinge of an accent that betrays the small east Texas town where he grew up. He sits on a leather chair in a corner room, away from where he and four other doctors perform surgical procedures.
A bookshelf includes dry medical encyclopedias and clinical contraception manuals, political titles and books that indicate his profession.
Boyd is a Christian; he says his spiritual background informs his work. Early in life, he was ordained as a Baptist minister. After medical school and residency, he became a Unitarian Universalist. In his medical practice, he chose to support women.
“Our role is to help her make a decision in the grace of God that she can live with,” Boyd tells SFR and NM Political Report in a rare, in-depth interview.
His work performing abortions stretches to the pre-Roe v. Wade days of the late 1960s, when he practiced illegally in the unwelcoming confines of small-town and big-city Texas. Pressure, real and perceived, from the law drove him away and into liberal Santa Fe, where a more tolerant citizenry welcomed his work in 1972, just a year before the Supreme Court granted abortion as a fundamental right.
Boyd soon repoened a clinic in Dallas and in 1985, opened an additional clinic in Albuquerque. The Santa Fe location closed in 1993.
Boyd isn’t a typical abortion provider. Since 2010, his Albuquerque clinic has offered abortions for women during the third trimester of pregnancy, a procedure performed at only a handful of other clinics nationwide.
His practice draws an intense, emotional response from the anti-abortion community, making Southwestern Women’s Options one of the most scrutinized abortion clinics in the country and New Mexico ground zero in the abortion wars.
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