Click on the Links below to read a Selection of Statements from Various Organizations Regarding Paul Hill
- NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN STATEMENT ON THE EXECUTION OF PAUL HILL
- ACLU POSITION ON THE EXECUTION OF PAUL HILL
- FLORIDA PLANNED PARENTHOOD AFFILIATES CALL FOR SAFETY
- NCADP CALLS FOR COMMUTATION FOR PAUL HILL
- AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA APPEAL
- PROGRAM TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY – AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
- LISA RADELET, PRO-CHOICE / ANTI-DEATH PENALTY
National Organization for Women
1 888 5FLA-NOW
The execution of women’s clinic attacker Paul Hill is not necessary to protect society as long as he is imprisoned for life, so that he will not kill again, said Florida National Organization for Women President Linda Miklowitz.
“Feminists work for a more humane society and to stop violence,” said Miklowitz. “We believe that life begins at birth, and we’re very pro-life from that point. While NOW doesn’t have a formal stand on the death penalty, as it is not one of our main issues, we deplore unnecessary loss of life of persons who are already born in unnecessary wars and unnecessary executions.”
“Paul Hill, who gunned down a physician who was helping women and legally practicing medicine and a retired couple who was escorting him from his vehicle, said that he would kill again if released. Clearly he needs to be incarcerated to protect lives and reproductive rights, but he does not have to be killed by the state,” said Miklowitz, who noted that she was expressing her own opinion rather than that of the organization, whose members have not voted on a resolution. The next quarterly state council meeting of chapter delegates is in Orlando October 11.
NOW is an action organization working to influence public policy and public opinion for women’s political, economic and social equality. NOW furthers women’s self-determinism through reproductive rights, lesbian rights, and stopping violence against women. NOW also fights sexism and racism. Miklowitz is an attorney in Tallahassee for more than 20 years and married mother of two teenagers
To contact Linda Miklowitz on deadline: 850 559-1312, cell
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida deplores all acts of violence against abortion providers and our sympathy goes out to the families of Paul Hill’s victims.
Executing Paul Hill will only make him a martyr for extremists in the anti-choice movement and could incite more violence rather than protect women, their doctors, and clinic staff. This case makes it clear that capital punishment is not a deterrent. If it is true that Hill has received adequate due process and adequate counsel, then it would be a fair punishment for him to spend the rest of his life in prison.
The spectacle of Paul Hill’s execution cannot obscure the fact that our system of federal and state-sanctioned executions is arbitrary and unfair, and infected with injustice and racism.
Paul Hill’s execution should not obscure the fact that there are serious problems in the administration of the death penalty in Florida. Florida leads the nation in wrongful death sentences. For example, 23 of the 111 people who have been released from death row nationally were sentenced to death in Florida. Frank Smith died on Florida’s death row before posthumous DNA testing confirmed his innocence. There are other issues as well, such disparities between rich and poor, the quality of counsel that defendants can afford, and race discrimination in the application of the death penalty.
FLORIDA PLANNED PARENTHOOD AFFILIATES CALL FOR SAFETY
As the September 3 execution of convicted murderer Paul Hill approaches, Planned Parenthood affiliates across Florida remember the murder victims, Dr. John Britton and retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Barrett. Our hearts are with their families and loved ones, especially June Barrett who was severely injured in the 1994 shooting. June, a retired nurse, and her husband were clinic escorts in Pensacola as part of their church ministry.
No doubt, this execution and increased media coverage causes traumatic memories for the families and loved ones of Dr. David Gunn killed in Pensacola, Fla. in 1993; Shannon Lowry and Leann Nichols killed in Boston, Mass. in 1994; Officer Robert Sanderson killed in Birmingham, Ala. in 1998; and Dr. Slepian killed in Amherst, NY in 1998. Our thoughts are with them all, as well as the brave and courageous men and women who have been injured as a result of the violence directed at womens clinics.
The loss of life and injury suffered by these families, their loved ones and physicians is a painful reminder of the threat posed by extremists. As we have seen from the recent threats made to Florida Gov. Bush, Attorney General Crist, Secretary Crosby, Florida State Prison Warden Thompson and the Pensacola sentencing judge, extremists of any ideology are a threat to us all. We hope Florida’s officials remain safe from harm.
Reports indicate that there may be an influx of anti-choice extremists coming to Florida to protest the execution. Consequently, clinics that provide family planning and abortion services are in a heightened state of security. Today and in the days that follow, we
call upon leaders in government, law enforcement and faith communities to use this as a time to speak out against violence that is perpetrated in the name of religion and tolerated as religious expression. It is incumbent upon them, upon all of us to create a climate in which intimidation and harassment of women and their doctors is not tolerated.
Planned Parenthood affiliates of Florida express deep gratitude to local police, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI for providing guidance in this difficult and somber time. They have helped us enhance our security so that we can protect our clients, staff and volunteers.
Finally, we ask Floridians on all sides of the abortion debate to come to a common ground this week by collectively promoting safety, security and peace.
Aug. 27, 2003 – the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty today called for a commutation for Paul Hill of Florida, who faces a Sept. 3 execution date.
Hill, an anti-abortion activist, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett outside a women’s center in Pensacola. Hill dropped his appeals and has said he believes his execution will encourage more people to kill abortion providers and therefore save lives in the long run.
“Executing Paul Hill will only continue a cycle of violence,” said Steven W. Hawkins, NCADP executive director. “Hill thinks, and apparently some of his most ardent supporters agree, that his execution will turn him into a martyr. His execution would make us less safe and a more appropriate alternative would be a sentence of life in prison.”
Abe Bonowitz, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, also called for a life sentence for Hill. “Governor Bush has refused to commute Hill’s sentence, maintaining that he has a duty to carry out the law,” Bonowitz said. “But Governor Bush also has a duty to protect the innocent citizens of Florida who could be harmed by violence inspired by the deliberate killing of Paul Hill. The fact of the matter is that Governor Bush has an option that would serve the dual purpose of punishing Mr. Hill and protecting the citizens of Florida: He can commute the sentence of death to life in prison without the possibility of parole.”
To take action in the Hill case, please visit NCADP’s new Legislative Action Center at www.ncadp.org For more information on the case, please visit Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty at www.fadp.org
August 29, 2003
The Honorable Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida
Executive Office of the Governor
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Via fax: (850) 487-0801
Dear Governor Bush:
On behalf of more than 320,000 members of Amnesty International USA, I appeal to you to grant clemency to Paul Hill. Mr. Hill is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, September 3, for the 1994 murders of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett.
Mr. Hill’s execution would be the 3rd execution this year in Florida and the 57th since your state resumed executions in 1979. Amnesty International is extremely alarmed that executions continue to occur in your state, despite increasing nationwide concern over the application of the death penalty.
As an international human rights organization, Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without reservation. This includes cases in which the defendant has given up his right to any further appeals, such as that of Paul Hill. While we have tremendous sympathy for the family and friends of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett and are mindful of the deep pain and grief that they have experienced, we believe capital punishment only perpetuates the cycle of violence.
Governor Bush, I strongly urge you to demonstrate your respect for justice and human life by granting clemency to Paul Hill. Thank you for your time and attention to this serious matter.
William F. Schulz
Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, September 2, 2003
CONTACT: Reah Johnson
(202) 544-0200 x 302
Amnesty International Urges Governor Bush to Halt the Cycle of Violence and Grant Clemency to Florida Death Row Inmate Paul Hill
(Washington, DC) – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) today reiterated its demand that Florida Governor Jeb Bush spare the life of death row inmate Paul Hill, scheduled to be executed tomorrow, Wednesday, September 3. Hill was sentenced to death on December 6th, 1994, for the murder of Dr. John Britton and James Barrett.
In a letter sent to Governor Bush, the organization urged the governor to “respect justice and human life by granting clemency to Paul Hill.” Despite increasing nationwide concern over the application of the death penalty, Hill would be the third person to be executed this year in the state of Florida and the 57th since the state resumed executions in 1979.
“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception as it is the ultimate denial of human rights,” said Sue Gunawardena-Vaughn, Director of AIUSA’s Program to Abolish the Death Penalty. “While we have tremendous sympathy for the family and friends of the victims, this outdated and futile mode of punishment only serves to perpetuate an endless cycle of violence.”
“When it comes to the death penalty, Florida is moving against current domestic trends,” said Gunawardena-Vaughn. “Recent events such as Governor Ryan’s commutations of death sentences in Illinois, the exoneration of more than 100 innocent individuals from death row, and the numerous flaws exposed in the capital punishment system reveal the arbitrary and capricious manner in which the death penalty is administered. In light of this, we prevail upon the governor to demonstrate leadership, wisdom, and compassion and grant Mr. Hill clemency.”
Copies of the letter sent to Governor Bush are available on request.
The following letter was published in the Gainesville Sun on August 28, 2003
Renewing the violent cycle
As a former resident of Florida, a longtime anti-death penalty activist and former Public Affairs Director for Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida, I find myself in a unique position concerning the upcoming execution of Paul Hill, sentenced to die for the murders of Pensacola abortion provider Dr. John Britton and his escort, Lt. Col. James Barrett.
Over the years, I’ve often found myself in the position of having to explain my anti-death penalty views to my pro-choice colleagu
es, as well as having my pro-choice views questioned by some fellow death penalty abolitionists, but never before has the intersection of these issues been so direct.
To me, this case illustrates the dangerous messages sent when the government oversteps its boundaries, whether by granting itself the right to kill its prisoners, or by its interference in what should be personal, private reproductive decisions. In the latter case, anti-abortion rhetoric by our government leaders and efforts to restrict or eliminate the right to choose have provided fodder for extremists like Hill.
In the former, the government’s decision to kill as a punishment for killing sends a clear message that the use of violence is justified – especially if the person really “deserves it.”
It’s a message that has not been lost on Hill and his crowd. Because Paul Hill abhors abortion and sees it as the “killing” of the unborn, he feels justified in killing to try and stop it. The state then feels justified in killing Hill. In return, Hill’s supporters are now threatening state officials, as well as abortion providers, vowing that Hill’s death will not be in vain. And so the cycle continues.
As much as I detest Paul Hill and what he did, I oppose his execution. What’s true with every execution is especially clear here: violence begets violence.
Surely, there must be a better way.
LISA RADELET—Boulder, Colo
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy,
Gainesville, FL 32609