I wanted to share with you insights from one of our staff members handling violence and security issues:
Anti-abortion protesters from around the country came to Washington, DC to participate in Monday’s “March for Life” as well as numerous other activities that took place over the weekend. The march itself began with a rally on the national mall near the White House where the crowd was addressed by anti-choice legislators. President Bush also addressed the protestors via telephone.
On Saturday, a group of anti-abortion teens and college students protested at abortion clinics in Washington, DC. They held signs, prayed, sang, and attempted to approach patients and staff entering the clinics. Escorts from the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force were on hand to assist women safely into the clinics. On behalf of our members, I went to the clinic protests and the march to monitor the protesters; ensure that no laws were broken; and offer support and assistance. One difference this year at the clinic protests was the noted absence of the older adult male leaders such as Frank Pavone, Pat Mahoney, and Jeff White.
In such an important week for reproductive freedom, another anti-abortion extremist is in federal court. Today the jury found convicted murderer James Kopp guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and using a firearm to commit a violent act. He was previously convicted on state murder charges for the 1998 shooting death of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, and is serving a 25-year-to-life state sentence. This federal conviction could ensure that he would not be eligible for parole. Such prosecutions and convictions have led to the decline in major acts of violence against abortion providers in recent years.