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ACLU Decries Florida Clinic Shooting:
Statement of Estelle H. Rogers, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 1994
The ACLU is appalled by today's murders and serious wounding outside
The Ladies' Center, a reproductive health facility in Pensacola, Florida.
These crimes mirror the horror of Dr. David Gunn's murder at Pensacola
Medical Services in March, 1993. Since 1992, when the U.S. Supreme Court
disappointed anti-choice organizations by upholding Roe v. Wade and the
legality of abortion, these groups have unleashed an ever-escalating
onslaught of violence against abortion providers and their patients.
While the Constitution affords anti-abortion activists the right to
express their views even to unreceptive audiences, it does not give them
license to commit acts of violence to underscore their views. The American
Civil Liberties Union -- which has defended the rights of both women
seeking abortion and anti-abortion protesters -- deplores the
criminal acts committed today in Florida, as well as the other violent
attacks upon reproductive health facilities throughout the nation.
The ACLU fought for enactment of the Freedom of Access to Clinic
Entrances Act, the new federal law that prohibits violence and obstruction
aimed at interfering with those who obtain or provide reproductive health
services. We are now defending this statute in court against challenges to
block its enforcement. We hope that, in the future, vigorous enforcement
of the act will spell the end of the tide of violence that has engulfed
abortion providers and their patients during the past two years.
We urge federal, state and local authorities to prosecute those
responsible for this horrible tragedy under every applicable criminal
statute, including the clinic access act. For we must remember that the
men who died in Pensacola today and the woman who was injured are
casualties of an ideological war as surely as if they were felled in
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