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Barnett Slepian: Wikis


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Barnett Slepian (October 21, 1946 – October 23, 1998) was an American physician and OB/GYN who was murdered in his home by anti-abortion activist James Charles Kopp.

Dr. Slepian ran an abortion clinic in Buffalo, New York serving members of the local and surrounding communities.[1] On October 23, 1998, Dr. Slepian had returned from synagogue and was preparing macaroni and cheese in his kitchen when he was shot in the shoulder through a window. He died a few hours later.

Within days of Dr. Slepian's murder, pro-life groups rallied and staged clinic confrontations in Buffalo and Rochester, New York. While local leaders from both sides of the abortion debate decried these rallies as potential incitements to further violence, more extreme members of the pro-life community, such as Flip Benham of Operation Rescue, labeled calls for nonviolence "pitiful" and suggested that unless abortion was outlawed, "we are in store for more bloodshed in the streets—the likes of which will sicken even the sturdiest among us."[1]

Following Dr. Slepian's murder, Kopp fled the U.S., but was arrested in France and extradited. He was tried and convicted of second-degree murder in Buffalo, New York and is currently serving a 25 years to life term of imprisonment.

This murder was the climax of a series of five sniper attacks in four years in northern New York and Canada. Dr. Slepian was the fourth doctor and seventh person in the USA to be murdered for performing abortions. Following Dr. Slepian's murder, local pro-choice and pro-life activists joined together to deplore the murder.

The Ani DiFranco song Hello Birmingham, from her 1999 album To The Teeth, was written as a response to the Slepian murder.

Soon after his death, the anti-Defamation League released a statement expressing concern about the likelihood that Dr. Slepian's murder had an antisemitic element to it, given the fact that Dr. Slepian was also Jewish. [2]

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