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Opposition update

Opposition update

Reproductive Freedom News 3(15): 7-8

On July 29, 1994, anti-choice activist Paul Hill shot and killed Dr. John B. Britton, a Florida physician who provided abortion services, and one of his volunteer security escorts, James Barrett, outside Pensacola's Ladies Center health clinic. Dr. Britton, who had endured years of harassment and death threats, was wearing a bulletproof vest when he was killed. The shootings were the second lethal attack by anti-choice activists in Pensacola in 18 months. In March 1993, Michael Griffin fatally shot Dr. David Gunn at Pensacola's other abortion clinic, Pensacola Women's Medical Services. Griffin was convicted of first-degree murder in March 1994 and is now serving a life sentence in prison. In addition, in August 1993, Dr. George Tiller was shot in both arms as he drove up to the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, by Rachelle Shannon, who was convicted of attempted murder in March, 1994. A former Presbyterian minister and frequent demonstrator at the Ladies Center, Hill gained national notoriety for founding Defensive Action, an organization that supports as justifiable homicide the murder of abortion providers. Since the attack, the FBI bureau has mounted a investigation into whether extreme anti-choice activists are involved in an organized conspiracy to use violence against clinics and providers. Following the shootings, Attorney General Janet Reno also dispatched federal marshals to clinics around the nation. Paul Hill was indicted on 3 counts of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE); the trial in federal district court is scheduled to begin on October 3, 1994. The state of Florida has charged him with 2 counts of first-degree murder and 1 count of first-degree attempted murder. Hill has pleaded not guilty to all charges. Violence against and harassment of women's health care providers continues to mount nationwide.

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Accession: 046870532

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