For the first time in American history the fierce debates on abortion and capital punishment juxtaposed themselves inside Florida’s execution chamber on September 3rd.
Former Coral Gables resident and Presbyterian Minister, Paul Hill was put to death for the 1994 shotgun slaying of abortion doctor, John Butler and his escort James Barret outside their Pensacola clinic.
The sad cycle of violence should serve not as a lesson in civil liberties and appropriate criminal justice but as a wake up call to those who have forgotten the tremendous value of human life. Whether a woman has the legal right to choose or not, abortion clearly represents immoral action with zero regard to life’s worth.
America should look upon Paul Hill and the murderous Christian terrorists who support him not as avenging or preventing the deaths of aborted babies but as cold-blooded murders. Their pro-life mantra abounds with hypocrisy as they celebrate the assassination of a fellow man. As with all religious fundamentalist organizations, they attempt to justify their violent action with faith. Absolutely nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus justify murder. The supporters of Paul Hill should never refer to themselves as doing Christ’s work.
Shooting lethal poisons through the veins of Paul Hill completes the gruesome cycle of violence. In this particular case, a life of incarceration would have served as far greater punishment for the defrocked minister who greatly anticipated death to receive his “reward in heaven” and used his widely reported last words to encourage copycat abortion slayings. Remorseless murderers like Paul Hill end up in a far hotter place than heaven. Taking Hill’s life has resulted in tremendous media coverage and encouraged proponents and sympathizers of his movement to threaten more clinics with violence. Florida foolishly gave the pro-life movement’s radical wing a new “martyr” to revere and emulate.
An expansion of birth control and abstinence based sex education will significantly decrease unwanted pregnancies and the subsequent violent deaths of unborn babies in America. The pro-life movement should not sway from their task at hand and turn to violent protest that counteracts and negates their cause. With the likelihood of two vacancies on the nation’s highest court, pro-choice proponents may no longer find legalized abortion and the constitutional “right to privacy” implicit within the 9th Amendment’s context. As representatives of the people, Democratic Congressional legislators have an obligation to vote Presidential judicial nominees up or down and discontinue their despicable practice of filibustering conservative justices.
The state of Florida should work towards tearing down a culture of violence encompassing abortion and vigilante murder by resisting its bloodlust for a barbaric justice through capital punishment.
Pete Trombadore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.