On December 8, 1993, Nightline gave Paul Hill an extended platform to advocate the killing of doctors who perform abortions, unchallenged by any pro-choice perspective. On July 29, 1994, Hill allegedly murdered Dr. John Britton and his escort at a Florida clinic.
FAIR warned after Paul Hill's Nightline appearance of the dangers of turning proponents of murder into media celebrities (Extra! Update, 2/94). But despite the murder of Britton and his escort--the latest in a series of violent acts against abortion providers--advocates of anti-abortion terrorism are still able to use media to promote their cause.
NBC's Today show on August 25 featured Rev. David Trosch, an associate of Hill who similarly advocates anti-abortion violence. If someone followed his advice and committed murder, he told Today's audience “I would feel great because innocent babies would have been saved that day.”
The “other side” in the argument was represented by Rev. Flip Benham, a representative of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Since Operation Rescue advocates using illegal means to shut down abortion clinics, the debate in effect was over which crimes were appropriate to stop abortion.
Benham condemned Trosch's methods, but in terms that justified his fanaticism: “Father Trosch has a desire to do a good thing, which is to bring an end to the abortion holocaust, the murder of precious little baby boys and girls being slaughtered in their mother's wombs.”
Today could have included a pro-choice advocate, not another anti-abortion extremist, in the discussion. Better, Today could have had a discussion on the best way to protect doctors from being killed--instead of an argument over whether it was right to kill them.