Anti-abortion extremists Loretta Marra and Dennis Malvasi pleaded guilty yesterday to aiding James Kopp while he was wanted by the FBI for the murder of abortion provider Barnett Slepian, MD. The couple accepted a plea deal that allowed them to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in helping Kopp avoid capture, according to the Buffalo News. Marra and Malvasi will be sentenced on July 11. Prosecutors say that the two face four to five years in prison, but lawyers for the couple argue that they should receive much shorter sentences, according to the New York Times. Based on the amount of time the couple have already served while awaiting trial, they could be released immediately following sentencing, the Times reports.
Marra admitted in court to sending money to Kopp while he was on the run abroad, and Malvasi, a convicted clinic bomber, admitted that he "knew Kopp was wanted" when he made the offer to let Kopp hide out in his Brooklyn home, according to the Associated Press. "Marra and Malvasi are part of an underground terrorist network dedicated to eliminating and intimidating providers of abortion, a constitutional right," said Glen Murray, a pro-choice lawyer in New York who is close to the Slepian family, according to the Buffalo News. "Iím not surprised that a plea bargain was entered, but I hope that the court will take into account that they have been the catís paw of a terrorist network and not show leniency."
Kopp was convicted last month of the intentional murder of Dr. Slepian, who was killed in a sniper-style shooting in 1998 in his Amherst, New York home. Kopp, who faces 25 years to life in prison, will be sentenced on May 9 by Erie County Judge Michael DíAmico. He still faces federal charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Kopp has also 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.
Media Resources: New York Times 4/16/03; Buffalo News 4/15/03, 4/16/03; Associated Press 4/15/03; Feminist Daily News Wire
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. . . .