On October 23, 1998, the Buffalo abortion provider Barnett Slepian was killed by a sniper's bullet fired through the kitchen window of his home. Days later, police informed another local doctor, Shalom Press, that they had received a threat warning that he was "next on the list." Within hours the Press household was under twenty-four-hour federal marshal protection. America's violent struggle over abortion - which had already claimed the lives of five doctors and clinic workers - had come to Buffalo.
In Absolute Convictions, Eyal Press returns to his hometown seeking to understand how an issue many people thought was settled decades ago could inspire such rage. Press combines a retelling of his family's experience with firsthand accounts of protesters arrested outside his father's office, patients who braved the gauntlet of demonstrators, and politicians who attempted to appease both sides. Through the Press family and the city of Buffalo, a blue-collar town undergoing wrenching economic changes, we see, as never before, the people behind the absolute convictions that have divided our nation for the past three decades.
With remarkable sensitivity, Press has written both a gripping narrative account of a family and a city caught in the crossfire of moral fervor and individual rights, and an incisive history that offers new insight into the economic and social roots of America's most volatile conflict.