TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida man who shot and killed a doctor outside a women’s clinic in 1993 at the beginning of a wave of deadly anti-abortion violence will appear before the state’s parole board Wednesday.

Michael Griffin, who is serving a life sentence at Blackwater River Correctional Facility in Milton, was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Dr. David Gunn. He was gunned down on March 10, 1993, while arriving to work at an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida.

Gunn was the first U.S. doctor killed during an abortion protest. The shooting followed clinic bombings and regular protests against abortion in the city.

At the time of his death, Gunn was one of the relatively few doctors performing abortions in the South, working at clinics in Montgomery, Alabama, and Columbus, Georgia, when he wasn’t in Pensacola. He commuted to work from his home in Eufaula, Alabama, near the Georgia state line.

Months after Gunn was slain, another abortion doctor was shot to death outside another clinic in Pensacola by a gunman who wrote about being inspired by Griffin’s actions.

Dr. John Bayard Britton was killed along with a volunteer escort, James H. Barrett, while arriving for work at a clinic in July 1994. Convicted in the slayings and the wounding of Barrett’s wife, former minister and abortion protester Paul J. Hill was executed in 2003.

Two receptionists at Planned Parenthood clinics, Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols, were shot to death in suburban Boston in 1994, and another abortion provider, Dr. Bernard Slepian, was shot to death in his home by a sniper near Buffalo, New York, in 1998.

Also in 1998, a bomb killed a police officer and badly injured a nurse outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama.


This story has been corrected to say doctor was shot in March 1993, not May.