James Kopp Loses Bid to Dismiss Federal Trial for Murder of Abortion Provider
A federal judge refused to dismiss charges against James Kopp, the convicted killer of abortion provider Barnett Slepian, MD, for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. US District Judge Richard Arcara also denied Kopp�s intention to argue that the shooting was justified because Kopp was only trying to save the lives of fetuses, according to the Associated Press. Arcara ruled that the necessity defense is not applicable in cases such as this one, where the defendant was trying to prevent legal actions, AP reports. Kopp, who is preparing his own defense, will also be barred from using graphic anti-abortion photos or his religious or moral beliefs against abortion in his defense, as Judge Arcara ruled they are irrelevant, AP reports.
The Buffalo News reports that, according to Kopp, federal prosecutors have offered him a deal in which he can avoid solitary confinement and instead serve out his prison sentence in a medium-security prison if he pleads guilty to the federal charges. Kopp has already been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in Erie County, New York for the 1998 murder of Dr. Slepian, the maximum penalty allowable under the law.
Kopp, known as "Atomic Dog" within the anti-abortion extremist group Army of God, was a fugitive for two-and-a-half years following the murder of Dr. Slepian. During this time, he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List until he was finally apprehended in France in 2001. Kopp has also been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short, and he is the primary suspect in three separate shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .