Two years ago, Betsey Fox-Genovese, a prize-winning historian and recipient of a National Humanities Medal (from the administration of George W. Bush) played to a packed house at Hamilton College. One of my colleagues, one of Betsey’s former students, had invited her to campus, preceding a visit by the president of Planned Parenthood, to speak about abortion. Friends knew that Betsey had been battling multiple sclerosis for some years. The disease had taken an obvious toll on her mobility. She edged toward the podium under escort in some difficulty. One leg was braced; she grasped a metal cane in each hand. Reaching her destination, poised and cheerful, at the lower end of the auditorium she turned to her audience to speak about “Life and Death: Who Decides?” Gripping the lectern, she remained erect throughout the performance. She spoke spiritedly. Despite advance publicity, few of Hamilton’s feminist radicals had deigned to attend....


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