Anti-abortion murderer executed in the US

An anti-abortion extremist who killed a doctor was executed in the United States last night.

Paul Hill, a former Presbyterian minister, was the first person in the US to be executed for anti-abortion violence. He shot a doctor and his bodyguard outside a Florida abortion clinic in 1984.

Before his death by lethal injection Mr Hill said that, by executing him, the state was making him a martyr and called for others to follow in his footsteps and ‘do what you have to’ to prevent abortions being carried out.

Clinics across the US are bracing themselves for a violent backlash after the execution, over and above the threats that they already face daily. Mr Hill was denounced by moderate anti-abortionists but embraced by hardliners called the Army of God.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of President Bush, could have commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment, but said he would not be ‘bullied’ into stopping the execution and Mr Hill had not appealed his death sentence.

There have been at least 10 attempts to kill doctors and others involved in abortion services in the US and Canada in the past 10 years. The most recent killing was in 1998 in Amherst, New York.