James Kopp, the confessed assassin of abortion provider Barnett Slepian, MD, was found guilty today of intentional murder. After waiving his right to a jury trial, Kopp was found guilty of intentionally murdering Slepian after a single day in court. The ruling by Erie County Court Judge Michael D’Amico was based on a 35-page document of facts approved by lawyers on both sides. No witnesses were heard, and Kopp, known as “Atomic Dog” within the extremist group Army of God, did not testify.
With the conviction of Kopp for the intentional murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, the Feminist Majority Foundation today released its latest (2002) National Clinic Violence Survey to show the public that violence still plagues our nation’s clinics. The survey, which has been periodically conducted since 1993, is the most comprehensive survey of clinic violence in the US and involves 338 clinics. Nationwide, there are reports of more aggressive interference and intimidation of clinic staff and patients as they enter clinics. In addition, anthrax threats skyrocketed; plus the percentage of clinics experiencing three of more instances of violence doubled and two-thirds of clinics experienced anti-abortion intimidation.
“The Army of God terrorist network must be cracked,” said FMF President Eleanor Smeal. “It is clear that Kopp did not get Slepian’s name from a phone book and that he has worked with others in his some 15 years of harassing clinics.”
“With threats of terrorism plaguing the nation and the recent loss of NOW v. Scheidler in the U.S. Supreme Court, we fear that the extremists may be emboldened to close down clinics,” said Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of FMF. “It is clear that a network around Kopp aided and abetted him in eluding the law.”
Kopp, who was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, has also been indicted for the 1995 shooting of Ontario abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short and is the primary suspect in three separate shootings of abortion providers in Canada and New York.
The Clinic Violence Survey will be available online at www.feminist.org within the next few days and is available now via fax. Call 703-522-2214.