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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 11, 2000

CONTACT

Communications Department
202-667-5881

National Abortion Federation Member Physician Dr Gary Romalis Stabbed in Vancouver

Dr. Gary Romalis, an abortion provider in Vancouver, was stabbed today as he arrived at work. "We are deeply shocked and dismayed at what has happened today," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation (NAF). "It is abhorrent that once again, individuals who oppose the right to choose have used violence to try to advance their extreme anti-choice agenda."

"Dr. Romalis is currently in stable condition. Our thoughts right now are with him and his family and friends, as they try to cope with this tragic attack."

NAF member physician Dr. Ellen Wiebe, also an abortion provider in Vancouver, said, "This has been a terrible shock. I call on churches to stop the rhetoric that helps mentally unstable people resort to violence. I'm very glad that the government of British Columbia is providing extra security to abortion providers."

"NAF has alerted our member clinics in the U.S. and Canada about the attack. Since the suspect fled the scene and is currently at-large, we have contacted member clinics and advised them to take extra security precautions. We have also been communicating with the FBI and Department of Justice National Task Force on Violence Against Abortion Providers. We urge Canadian law enforcement officials to do everything possible to swiftly arrest this criminal and bring him to justice."

Dr. Romalis is the first physician to be injured twice as a result of anti-choice violence. In November 8, 1994, he was shot in the leg and seriously wounded. James Charles Kopp, currently on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, is wanted for questioning in connection with that shooting, as well as the shootings of two other abortion providers. Kopp was charged with the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an abortion provider in Buffalo, NY, and the shooting of Canadian abortion provider Dr. Hugh Short. According to NAF's statistics, today's attack represents the 17th attempted murder of an abortion provider since 1991. Since 1993, a total of seven people have died as a result of anti-choice violence.

Saporta will be in Vancouver with other NAF staff tomorrow morning to offer assistance to NAF member clinics and law enforcement officials in Vancouver.

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The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.
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