Anti-abortion extremist Paul Hill, who in 1994 killed a Pensacola, Florida doctor and his volunteer escort, is scheduled to die tonight by lethal injection. Hill, an early proponent of "justifiable homicide" of abortion providers, shot and killed Dr. John Britton, 69, and volunteer escort James Barrett, 74, outside the Pensacola clinic that had previously been the site of Michael Griffin's murder of Dr. David Gunn. Hill also wounded volunteer escort June Barrett in the attack. In an interview yesterday, Hill said, "I don't feel any remorse because I think it was a good thing, and instead of being shocked, more people should do what I did. I think more people should act as I acted," according to the Associated Press.
Abortion rights advocates fear that Hill's death could make him a martyr and trigger more violence against abortion clinics. Abortion clinics in Florida and across the country are taking extra precautions. "Security's at a very, very high level," Carole Ann Steiger, of Planned Parenthood's Beach Boulevard clinic in Florida, told First Coast News. "It is so important that women have access to reproductive health care, ... that they can come to [a] place that is safe and secure."
Although severe clinic violence is down from its peak in 1994, "our national clinic violence survey reveals that violence is still threatening our nation's clinics at an intolerable level," said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The most recent survey found that levels of severe violence have slightly increased in the past two years, from 20 percent of clinics experiencing severe violence in 2000 to 23 percent in 2002. FMF's National Clinic Access Project is the largest of its kind in the US, leading efforts to keep women's health clinics open in the face of a war of attrition waged by abortion opponents.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .