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National Memorial Service to Honor Dr. Slepian

National pro-choice organizations, women’s rights organizations, and religious leaders will come together Wednesday to remember the death of Dr. Barnett Slepian and to issue a national call to action to stop the continued violence against abortion providers.

A memorial service will be held on the west steps of the U.S. Capitol building at noon on Wednesday, October 28. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is sponsoring the event. Other memorial services are planned across the country.

Obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot by a sniper in his Amherst, New York home on Friday evening in the presence of his wife and four sons. Slepian was targeted because he was an abortion provider.

This attack is not the first of its kind. Five similar attacks on abortion providers have taken place in upstate New York and Canada within the last four years. Slepian is the first victim to die from his injuries.

All five sniper attacks have taken place in the fall, near the date of November 11, which is Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada. Anti-abortion activists in Canada have deemed the day a time to “remember the unborn children.”

Since 1993, eight people have been murdered while working to protect or fulfill women’s right to choose. Sixteen have been wounded in anti-abortion attacks within the last five years.

“The extreme Right Wing must be called to task for creating a climate of violence and terror,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, in a statement issued Saturday. “This is a pluralistic society and we must all unite to protect our democracy from this frontal attack. Dr. Slepian worked courageously every day at the risk of his life for women and freedom. His murder must not be in vain.”

A $250,000 reward is being offered by the U.S. FBI and Canadian Authorities for the conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing Dr. Slepian. Susan Hill of the National Women’s Health Organization is urging anti-abortion leaders who condemn abortion providers to turn over any information or evidence concerning Dr. Slepian’s murder, if they have any.

Eric Robert Rudolph, charged with four bombings, including the bombings of the New Woman All Women’s Health Clinic, in Birmingham, AL and the Northside Family Planning Clinic in Atlanta, GA, is still at large. Authorities are offering a $1 million reward for his arrest and conviction.

“We continue to urge federal law enforcement to use criminal RICO and every other federal statute at their disposal to stop this criminal terrorist enterprise,” said Smeal.

Sources:

Feminist Majority - October 26, 1998