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Friday, September 05, 2003
Paul Hill executed in Florida

There is a BBC report (4 September) here on the execution of Paul Hill in Florida:
The first man to face the death penalty in the United States for killing a doctor who performed abortions has been executed. Paul Hill, 49, died at 1808 local time (2208 GMT) in northern Florida, following his conviction for the murder of two people outside an abortion clinic in 1994... There are fears that Hill's execution may lead to a backlash from anti-abortion campaigners against doctors and clinics, and Florida abortion clinics and police are on heightened alert for reprisals... Before the execution, Hill said he would kill again to save the unborn and was looking forward to dying for his cause. "I believe the state, by executing me, will be making me a martyr," he told a news conference... Hill was convicted of murdering Dr John Britton and his driver James Barrett outside the Ladies Center in Pensacola, Florida, in 1994. Hill gave himself up to police, saying that he had carried out the killings to prevent "innocent babies" being killed.
This reveals the total nonsense of Hill’s position: embryos are not babies. To kill a baby in a pram is substantially different from terminating a pregnancy. In any case, women have the right to decide whether or not their pregnancy should proceed. We should beware of listening to his nutcase ‘logic’. If he doesn’t want to have an abortion, he needn’t have one; we must not let him force his personal views on others.

Whether or not he will be seen as a martyr, leading to an increase in murders of gynaecologists, remains to be seen. Applying the death penalty appears particularly ‘unwise’ in this case. Killing people to show that one mustn’t kill people is the ultimate idiocy.

Unreported in this piece is Hill’s certainty that he will be welcomed into heaven. Leaving aside discussing how ‘God’ might judge his actions, Hill is in for a nasty shock. Or rather, he’s in for nothing at all.

Consider what it is like to go to sleep. To all intents and purposes, one is totally unaware of one's surroundings. Then, consider being anaesthetised for an operation. This is like sleeping but more so. Of course, one wakes up and recovers the essence of being: consciousness and awareness. Just think how death is much more final and destructive of consciousness than anaesthesia. The idea of 'life after death' appears ridiculous in that light.

If only we could disabuse religious nuts (al Qaeda et al) of the absurd notion of life after death...

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