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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 7, 2003

CONTACT

Communications Department
202-667-5881

National Abortion Federation Urges Maximum Sentence for Convicted Murderer James Kopp

Sentencing Scheduled for Friday, May 9

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation

Washington, DC - After four and one half years, an international manhunt, and a bench trial and conviction in March, James Kopp will finally be sentenced on Friday for murdering Dr. Barnett Slepian. The National Abortion Federation has submitted a letter that urges the Court to impose the maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

James Kopp's actions have had a devastating impact on abortion providers, their families and their patients. As a result of his crime and the acts of violence committed by other anti-choice extremists, reproductive health care providers have been forced to undertake extraordinary security measures to protect themselves, their employees and their families. Several providers have even had to live under the protection of U.S. Marshals because their lives were in danger.

For over 25 years, the National Abortion Federation has compiled statistics on anti-choice violence. Our comprehensive database often allows us to predict trends in violence against abortion providers. One trend that we have documented is that when one murderer is convicted and sentenced, another assassin is quickly recruited to take his place.

We know that strict and appropriate law enforcement and judicial response are critical deterrents to those who would commit similar acts of violence in the future. We hope that sentencing Kopp to the maximum penalty for his crime would act as a deterrent for others who may contemplate following in his footsteps. A strong message must be sent to anti-choice extremists that murdering an abortion provider is never justifiable.

As a society we cannot allow people to take the law into their own hands in order to advance their own personal, political agendas. The vicious and unrelenting attack on abortion providers jeopardizes access to vital medical services and threatens domestic security for all citizens.

For background information on clinic violence, James Kopp and the Army of God, or to arrange an interview with Vicki Saporta, please contact the NAF office at 202-667-5881, ext. 217.

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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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