Execution of Anti-Abortion Terrorist Could Further Violence, Groups Warn
With the September 3 execution date for anti-abortion terrorist Paul Hill drawing near, the Feminist Majority Foundation and other groups working to stop anti-abortion violence have urged clinics to take extra security measures, fearing that Hill's death could trigger violent incidents. Hill, 50, was convicted for murdering Florida abortion provider Dr. John Bayard Britton,69, and his volunteer escort James Barrett, 74, outside a Pensacola clinic in 1994. One anti-abortion website has already published a lengthy and detailed fictional account of Hill's execution, imagining that more murders of abortion doctors would follow.
The death penalty opposition group Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) last Friday submitted a letter to Governor Jeb Bush urging that he commute the death sentence. "By helping Paul Hill to martyr himself, you will give Hill and his followers a platform to encourage others to copy the crime... The martyrdom of Paul Hill will be a prime example of how the death penalty can actually encourage more murder and violence," wrote FADP Director Abe Bonowitz, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, earlier this week Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist, Corrections Secretary James Crosby and Prison Warden Joseph Thompson received death-threat letters from unknown sources containing bullets and opposing Hill's execution. State law enforcement officials have launched an investigation of the letters and bullets.
FMF's National Clinic Access Project is the largest of its kind in the U.S., leading efforts to keep women's health clinics open in the face of a war of attrition waged by abortion opponents.