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1994: Gunman kills two women at abortion clinic

VIDEO : Reaction to the abortion clinic murders

Two women have been shot dead and at least five others injured after a gunman opened fire at two neighbouring abortion clinics in a suburb of Boston.

A man opened fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic, in Brookline, Massachusetts, killing one member of staff and wounding at least three others, including one woman waiting for counselling.

Minutes later a man, believed to be the same attacker, ran up the street to the Pre-Term clinic.

A witness said a man carrying a duffel bag entered and asked one of the female employees: "Is this Pre-Term?"

When the women replied it was the Pre-Term clinic he dropped the duffel bag, took out a hunting rifle and opened fire.

He shot the woman he had been talking to and a second woman at a copying machine, a witness said.

The man then shot and wounded a security guard in the arm and ran into the street.

He then turned to fire at employees and patients who were trying to escape.

One of his victims, a woman with at least five wounds, died in hospital.

Abortion pill

In both incidents eyewitnesses described the gunman as being white with long brown hair, in his early 30s and dressed in black.

But police said they were not sure if the same man had committed both crimes.

Police helicopters, dogs and the FBI have mounted a manhunt for the attacker.

The murders bring to five the total number of killings at abortion clinics in the United States in the last two years.

There have also been fire bombings, vandalism and protests.

Other attacks and bomb threats were reported around America yesterday in what was believed to be a co-ordinated day of terrorism against abortion clinics.

Those in Boston are thought to have being targeted because they are testing the controversial French-made RU486 abortion pill.

In Context
Pro-life activist 22-year-old John Salvi from New Hampshire was arrested for the attacks after he was caught firing shots several days later at a clinic in Norfolk, about 600 miles south of the Boston shooting.

Salvi was linked to the earlier murders after a handgun, ammunition and a gunsmith's receipt were found in a black bag dumped in Boston.

He was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence for the murders of the two receptionists in Boston but was found dead in prison in November 1996.

He is believed to have committed suicide.

Although he had been acting alone, and was not part of the mainstream anti-abortion movement, his actions coincided with a campaign of violence against abortion centres.

It resulted in many hospitals refusing to carry out abortions.


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