LIFE MATTERS


The Film

A fascinating portrait of one man’s life and work, LIFE MATTERS is also a personal story—a film by Kyle Boyd about his father, Curtis. Raised on a farm outside of rural Athens, Texas, Curtis Boyd was voted “Most Courteous Boy” by his high school class. He worked hard at picking peas, milking cows and maintaining straight A’s while preaching at his local church. After college he earned his medical degree and opened a family practice in his hometown. With his wife and three small children, Dr. Boyd was the pride of the community.

But then came the Sixties. Social change was in the air, even in East Texas. Always a student of philosophy and a proponent of human rights, Boyd was captivated by the issues consuming the country: the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the women's movement. This cautious, law-abiding physician was soon transformed into a political and social activist—much to the chagrin of his family. “It was like the hometown idol had lost his halo,” recalls his former wife, LaMerle Boyd.

In 1965, Dr. Boyd was approached by the local leaders of a national organization called Clergy Consultation on Problem Pregnancy. The Clergy Consultation was a group of compassionate religious leaders from many denominations, including Protestants, Jews and Southern Baptists, who were concerned about the growing number of women who were either too poor or too remote to obtain safe abortions. The group provided referrals to counseling services and doctors who were willing to provide abortion services. While Boyd was hesitant to become involved in something that was clearly illegal, he felt it was imperative to provide a safe alternative to dangerous back alley abortions. The response was overwhelming: women from across the country were referred to him through the network of clergymen. Boyd risked imprisonment and loss of his medical license, and as the demand for his services grew, he was unable to keep his involvement secret. Town gossip, death threats and bomb scares eventually forced him to leave his hometown and relocate his practice to Dallas.

When the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Boyd thought the fears of imprisonment and harassment were behind him. But ironically, it was after Roe v. Wade that the most serious harassment began. Dr. Boyd continues to practice and receives death threats and harassment on a regular basis. His clinic has been the target of multiple arsons, and is a favorite of Operation Rescue protests and activity.

In telling this personal story, Kyle Boyd uses extensive interviews with both of his parents, home movies and testimony from his father’s patients, co-workers, contemporaries and clients. Eschewing the combative rhetoric and violent debate surrounding the issue of abortion, LIFE MATTERS introduces us to a man whose convictions were unshakable and whose life mirrors the myriad paradoxes of his time and place.

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