Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF), on the denial of Michael Griffin’s request for parole:
We are relieved that the State of Florida Commission on Offender Review denied parole for convicted murderer Michael Frederick Griffin. Griffin is an assassin who deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison where he cannot harm anyone else.
In 1993, Griffin shot and killed Dr. David Gunn as Gunn walked from his car to the Pensacola Women’s Medical Services clinic where he provided abortion care. Dr. Gunn was the first abortion provider to be assassinated because of his work, and in the years that have followed, 10 more people have been murdered by anti-abortion extremists.
Griffin has shown no remorse for his actions. He has been revered as a “hero” by some in the anti-abortion movement, and his crime motivated others to publicly endorse violence against providers and even carry out acts of violence themselves. Following Dr. Gunn’s murder, Defensive Action, or justifiable homicide petitions, were circulated among those who agreed that Griffin’s actions were “justifiable.” One of the petition signers—and Griffin disciple—Paul Hill, called Griffin an “inspiration.” Hill went on to murder another physician who provided abortion care in Florida and his volunteer security escort in 1994, just a few months after Griffin was convicted. Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon wrote to Griffin calling him the “greatest hero of our time” before she shot Dr. George Tiller in both arms in August 1993.
NAF has been compiling statistics on violence against abortion providers for 40 years. In that time, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers. Currently, NAF’s data show a continued environment of hostility directed at abortion providers. Griffin’s release would have emboldened other anti-choice extremists to commit further acts of violence.
Michael Griffin committed a heinous crime in the name of “life”—it’s only fitting that he should spend the rest of his behind bars.
# # #
Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation
202.667.5881, ext 219; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women.