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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Donald Spitz: Killing Doctors Who Perform Abortions Justified

Aired September 2, 2003 - 19:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, earlier we looked at the impending execution of Paul Hill, the man on Florida's death row for killing a doctor who performed abortions and the doctor's volunteer escort and also wounding his wife. Hill made a rare appearance to talk to the media today.
But there are people who have talked to Hill every day. That includes my next guest, the Rev. Donald Spitz. He protested next to Hill in Pensacola and now serves as his spiritual adviser. He joins us tonight from Stark, Florida.

Thank you very much for being with us.

I want to play you a sound byte from earlier in the day, Paul Hill In prison a press conference. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL HILL, CONVICTED MURDERER: People have asked me whether I have any remorse about what I did, and, I mean, I can honestly say that if I had not acted when I did and in the way I did, that I could not look myself in the mirror. People might question me and say, Well, would you do again, and I -- if I were put in similar circumstances I believe I would act similarly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Reverend Spitz, are you proud of Paul Hill?

REV. DONALD SPITZ, FRIEND OF PAUL HILL: Yes, I am. Paul Hill did what he had to do to save the lives of the 32 babies that were scheduled to die in Pensacola on July 29.

COOPER: How do you reconcile a belief in saving a life and at the same time taking a life?

SPITZ: Well, it happens all the time. If you walked into a grocery store and a man had a gun pointed at the owners of the grocery store and was about ready to shoot them and someone came along and stopped him, that would be justified. The same way Paul Hill saved the lives of those babies. If he did not do that, those 32 babies would be dead. Instead, they were alive.

COOPER: Reverend Spitz, I want to ask you a lot of groups who even oppose abortion have publicly opposed what Paul Hill has done. I just want to read you a few things we have received.

This came from the director of Operation West. Quote -- "He committed a supreme act of cowardice and became the very thing he despised, a murderer."

And then this from Pro-Life Action League: Paul Hill did our cause no favors. You don't kill abortionists."

Has he hurt the cause more than he's helped it as you think he has?

SPITZ: Paul Hill did what those people are cowards to do. Paul Hill actually saved the lives of those babies. What would those people want to have been done? Would they have preferred that abortionists to go into that abortion mill and kill 32 innocent babies? It appears that that's what they're saying. They would have preferred to let...

COOPER: So Reverend Spitz, let me ask you...

SPITZ: ...go in and go in.

COOPER: ...are you a coward then?

SPITZ: What?

COOPER: Are you a coward? You said these people are coward because they haven't taken anyone's life. You're supporting what this man has done. But I assume you have yet to shoot somebody.

SPITZ: I say they're cowards because they're denying Paul Hill that what he did was an act of courage.

COOPER: OK. But...

SPITZ: They're turning their back on him and they're denying the babies is who they're denying.

COOPER: But if you truly believe this, why don't you take a gun and shoot somebody?

SPITZ: The same reason I don't go to China and be a missionary. People that don't know Jesus Christ are going to hell forever and you could just as easily say if those people in China are going to hell forever why aren't you a missionary to China? As God calls different people to do different things. But I don't deny people when they act rightly and act the truth, I do not turn my back on them.

COOPER: So you're saying God told Paul Hill to kill people but he hasn't told you to kill people?

SPITZ: Paul Hill believed that God led him to save those innocent babies. You seem to take the focus on killing -- the baby killing abortionists and ignore the fact that that abortionist was going to murder 32 babies.

COOPER: Right.

SPITZ: Maybe you can look at those 32 babies instead.

COOPER: Well, I just -- I can't reconcile -- I have a hard time reconciling your support for what he did and your unseeming -- unwillingness to take those steps yourself. Do you understand my question?

SPITZ: I understand it. I guess you have the same question about me not going to China to be a missionary as well is that right? Because I believe those people are going to hell?

COOPER: I'm not asking about China. I was actually specifically asking about this.

SPITZ: I can't -- I'm one human being. I cannot do everything. I do what the Lord God tells me to do.

COOPER: Which is advise him...

SPITZ: You know, he has a plan. He has a plan for every human being. Every human being is created in God's image and what that baby killing abortionist was going to do was go in there and destroy 32 human beings who you evidently seem to have no regard for. You care about the baby killing abortionist that was the murderer instead of the innocent babies who he was going to kill.

COOPER: Actually -- actually Reverend Spitz, I haven't expressed a personal point of view. I'm just asking you a question. But I appreciate you coming in and talking about your -- the person you advise. You're the spiritual adviser to Paul Hill and we appreciate you coming in and talking about it. Thank you very much, Reverend Spitz.

SPITZ: All right. Thank you.

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