Pro-lifers Under Attack in Wake of Kopp's Arrest

Coalition Says ’98 Murder Shouldn’t Be Used to Taint Movement

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WASHINGTON, D.C., APR. 5, 2001 ( The arrest of James Kopp in France last week for the October 1998 murder of a suburban Buffalo, New York, abortionist has triggered a media uproar linking the pro-life movement to violence.

The Christian Defense Coalition in the United States cautioned the media and pro-abortion organizations not to use the sniper slaying of Dr. Barnett Slepian to attack and demonize the pro-life movement, LifeSite News ( reported this week.

The coalition also urged the U.S. Department of Justice to not politicize the shooting as a pretext to harass and intimidate the pro-life movement. LifeSite noted that all Canadian pro-life groups and all major U.S. pro-life groups have condemned such violence.

Prominent Christian columnist Cal Thomas, in an April 3 article, also warned about a pro-abortion propaganda blitz following the Kopp arrest.

«When the issue was civil rights 40 years ago,» he stated, «most of the mainstream media chose to promote the nonviolent ideas of Martin Luther King Jr. and treat him as the movement´s legitimate leader. Men like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown and Malcolm X, all of whom advocated violence to achieve their objectives, were eventually marginalized and portrayed as outside the mainstream. With abortion, it´s the reverse. The extremists are featured and responsible voices are ignored, because extremists help the pro-choice cause.»

The Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto on Saturday contained an article by Peter Cheney trying to associate the killer of Dr. Slepian with pro-lifers in Canada, LifeSite said.

Cheney quoted Canadian abortionist Henry Morgentaler who said, «I am certain that Mr. Kopp had colleagues in Canada. I don´t think there can be any question of that.» Marilyn Wilson, executive director of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, said of the case, «It shows how long these people can go unarrested because of the anti-abortion underground that harbors them.»

She said that since U.S. President George W. Bush is pro-life he would «obviously» not put effort into combating such violence, suggesting that he tacitly approved of it.

Television media are already in the midst of a propaganda campaign to associate the pro-life movement with attacks on abortionists, LifeSite said. Last week it reported that CanWest Global TV, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Home Box Office (HBO) are all airing specials on killings of abortionists.

Commenting on the HBO special «Soldiers in the Army of God» the Washington Post´s Megan Rosenfeld said Saturday, «The antis [meaning pro-lifers as in anti-abortion] could use it to assess what they have unleashed, and figure out a way to get the discussion back to principle and away from terrorism.»

U.S. authorities are considering waiving the death penalty on one of the federal charges in Kopp´s case since the French government could refuse extradition as it has for other suspects who might receive the death penalty.

Two anti-abortion activists accused of helping Kopp avoid arrest were indicted Tuesday on federal obstruction charges. Loretta Marra, 37, and Dennis Malvasi, 51, of New York were ordered returned to Buffalo. Marra, who was twice arrested with Kopp during abortion demonstrations in the 1990s, and Malvasi, who served five years in prison for firebombing two abortion clinics in the 1980s, were arrested in Brooklyn, New York, last week.

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