Anti-abortion extremist James Charles Kopp was extradited from France yesterday before appearing in federal court where he pled not guilt to charges that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) and illegally used a firearm to commit a crime. Kopp, formerly on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, allegedly murdered Amherst, NY obstetrician/gynecologist and abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian in 1998. According to law enforcement authorities, Dr. Slepian was killed in his home by a rifle shot. The shooter fired the rifle from a wooded area outside the home, and then fled. Investigators discovered a strand of hair at the scene that was linked to Kopp through DNA testing. Kopp’s vehicle had also been seen in Slepian’s neighborhood in the weeks before the shooting.
Eleven days after this sniper-style murder, Kopp disappeared and remained a fugitive for over two years, moving around Ireland before being captured in Dinan, France. Kopp was arrested at a post office where he was picking up money sent to him by fellow anti-abortion extremists Dennis Malvasi and Loretta Marra. Both Malvasi and Marra have been charged with harboring a fugitive.
Kopp now faces life without parole on the federal charges against him. Today, he will appear in state court on a second-degree murder charge as well as charges of reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. Kopp – facing 25 years to life on the state charges – is expected to plead innocent. As a condition of his extradition, Kopp is not eligible for the death penalty, which is still legal in New York.
In addition to crimes in the US, Kopp is also wanted in Canada for the 1995 attempted murder of abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short and the shootings of two other abortion providers in 1994 and 1997.
Media Resources: Associated Press, 6/6/02; Feminist Majority Foundation
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .