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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 25, 2001

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202-667-5881

Widow of Slain Abortion Provider Adds Her Voice to Those Opposing Confirmation of John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General

National Abortion Federation Calls on Senators to Protect the Lives of Abortion Providers and Vote Against Confirmation of John Ashcroft

Washington, DC - The widow of Dr. Barnett Slepian issued a statement today voicing her opposition to John Ashcroft as U.S. Attorney General. "I have rarely spoken to the media in the two years since my husband's death," said Lynne Slepian. "My deep concern for the men and women who perform abortion services, whose lives could be endangered by this appointment, and my sense of outrage, compel me to speak out today against the nomination of John Ashcroft as Attorney General."

In her statement, Slepian asked, "How can someone who believes abortion is murder fully enforce the laws that protect those who perform abortions? How can my family rely on John Ashcroft to provide all of the resources necessary to catch my husband's murderer? How will John Ashcroft prevent further tragedies like the one that took my husband's life?" She also stated that she fears that the Task Force will not continue its work if Ashcroft is confirmed. She added, "I am afraid of what will happen to other abortion providers if the laws protecting them are not fully enforced. And, I am afraid for the women who may be denied access to safe abortion care as a result of an increase in anti-choice violence and harassment."

Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of the National Abortion Federation, added her fears about a Justice Department headed by Ashcroft. "We do not believe Ashcroft will continue the commitment of the Department of Justice to deterring acts of violence against abortion providers. The Justice Department, and the Task Force in particular, has been instrumental in protecting the lives and safety of our members and the women they serve. Not only has the Task Force prevented violence, but it has also devoted critical resources to apprehending those who have committed acts of violence."

"Two days of testimony cannot supersede 25 years of public office," said Saporta. "John Ashcroft's history of using his positions of power to impose his extreme ideology shows he cannot be entrusted with the lives of those who provide abortions and those who seek their care. We join Lynne Slepian in calling on Senators to protect women and abortion providers and reject Ashcroft's nomination."

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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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