Anti-abortion extremist James Kopp pleaded not guilty to a second murder charge yesterday, after a grand jury indicted him last week for “reckless or depraved murder” in addition to an original charge of intentional murder. The new charge came after Kopp’s jailhouse confession in the sniper-style killing of Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo obstetrician/gynecologist and abortion provider. Despite admitting to the fatal shooting, Kopp will plead “not guilty” because he claims his intention was to wound Dr. Slepian, not kill him. The jury in Kopp’s upcoming February charge must choose between the two charges, according to prosecutors.
During yesterday’s court proceedings, Kopp made it clear that his defense will center around his anti-abortion viewpoints when he told Erie County Judge Michael D’Amico that the charges against him are really about “the murder of children” by abortion providers, according to the Buffalo News. D’Amico told Kopp to put his argument in writing, the News reported. Meanwhile, outside the courtroom Bruce Barket, Kopp’s chief attorney in his state trial, reiterated this strategy. “Factually there’s no dispute,” Barket said, according to the News. “We know what happened, but what is in dispute is the morality of abortion.”
Kopp shot and killed Slepian while he stood in the kitchen of his Buffalo home October 23, 1998. For the next two and a half years, Kopp, who was an early suspect in the murder, evaded authorities until he was apprehended in France in 2001. If Kopp is convicted of the murder, he faces 25 years to life in prison. Kopp, who was at one time on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, is not only facing charges in Slepian’s murder, but also has been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short and is the primary suspect in three separate shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .