Anti-Abortion Extremist James Kopp Sentenced to a Life Term for the Murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Violation of the FACE Act
Today anti-abortion extremist and confessed murderer James Kopp was sentenced to a life term without parole for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and 10 years for using a firearm to commit a violent act. This sentence follows the January 2007 federal trial where a jury found him guilty.
Kopp is already serving a 25-year-to-life state sentence for the 1998 murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo area abortion provider. Kopp is also a suspect in the non-fatal shootings of three abortion providers in Canada and one abortion provider in the U.S. during the 1990s.
Kopp carefully planned the murder of Dr. Slepian and deserved to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. We cannot allow people to take the law into their own hands in order to advance their own personal, political agendas.
NAF was instrumental in advocating for the passage of the FACE Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. FACE prohibits the use of “force, threat of force or physical obstruction” to prevent someone from providing or receiving reproductive health care services.
Since 1977 NAF has been compiling statistics on violence and disruption against abortion providers. The very visible prosecution and conviction of anti-abortion extremists like Kopp along with the enforcement of the FACE Act have led to a decrease in major acts of violence against abortion providers.
Even though major acts of violence have decreased in recent years, many anti-abortion extremists still believe that it is justifiable to murder doctors because they provide women with safe and legal abortion care. We hope that Kopp’s life sentence without parole sends a clear message that violence against abortion providers will not be tolerated and that perpetrators of such crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.