WASHINGTON (March 29, 2001) -- Cathleen Cleaver, Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a statement following a report today that the man suspected of the 1998 killing of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian had been arrested in France. This is the text of the statement:
"We are gratified by the prospect of the suspected killer of Dr. Barnett Slepian being brought to justice. Every human life has inestimable value, and no one has the right to kill.
We unequivocally condemn the use of violence to oppose abortion. The violence of killing in the name of pro-life makes a mockery of the pro-life cause. Just as we abhor the violence of abortion, we abhor violence as a means to stop abortion.
We regard such lethal violence with utter disdain, and acknowledge with deep regret how the deplorable actions of a very few can stigmatize the pro-life cause in the eyes of many. As the late Cardinal O'Connor once said: 'To imply...that to preach, to teach, to write, to proclaim a pro-life position is somehow to encourage or to condone violence is calumny.'"