John Britton

John Bayard Britton ( Boston , 6 as maypole as 1925 – Pensacola , 29 as July as 1994 ) 1 was a doctor American . He was murdered by pro-life extremist Paul Jennings Hill . Britton’s death was the second murder of an abortion doctor in Pensacola in less than a year and a half. Britton had replaced Dr. David Gunn after he was murdered in March 1993 by another pro-life activist, Michael Griffin. 2


Britton graduated in 1949 at the University of Virginia School of Medicine . He was then sent as a soldier to the Korean War . He later taught medicine at the Medical College of Georgia . He moved to Fernandina Beach (Florida), where he worked as an obstetrician and midwife . 3

Following the assassination of Dr. David Gunn (in March 1993), Britton began flying weekly through the state of Florida to Pensacola to perform abortions at the Pensacola Ladies’ Center. He began to receive harassment and death threats, so he wore a bulletproof vest made at home, he wore a Magnum .357 , 4 and got the presence of volunteer bodyguards ( clinic escort: ‘clinic escorts’). 1

Britton was ambivalent about abortion: on the one hand he was personally opposed to the procedure, and sometimes suggested to the women who came to get an abortion to meditate well on their decision and come back in a week. Nevertheless, he considered that the religious antiabortistas were “fanatics”. 3

In February 1994, journalist Tom Junod wrote an article describing the issue of abortion doctors in Pensacola, mentioning Dr. Britton, Paul Hill (a well-known religious extremist in the city), and the couple June and Jim Barrett. 5Among the photographs illustrating the article is one in which Dr. Britton puts on his bulletproof vest in the airport bathroom, before leaving for the clinic in Pensacola. 5

Dr. Britton and religious Paul Hill were also interviewed for the documentary ‘ Lake of Fire’ by British filmmaker Tony Kaye , to be published several years later in 2006. 6

David Trosch, a Catholic priest from the nearby town of Magnolia Springs, Alabama , issued a notice in the city of Mobile, Alabama , claiming that the killing of abortionists is “justified homicide.” 5


On July 29, 1994, Dr. Britton (69 years old) arrived at the clinic with his two “bodyguards” (a kind of bodyguard used in the United States against anti-abortionist attacks), James Jim Herman Barrett (74-year-old Air Force retired lieutenant colonel), and his wife, June Barrett (retired nurse). 2

As he stepped out of his van, Paul Jennings Hill – a Presbyterian spokesman – came up behind him and shot him in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. Hill later indicated that he shot him in the head because he knew – thank you To the newspaper article- 5 that the doctor was wearing a bulletproof vest . 1 Hill also killed Lieutenant Colonel James Barrett and wounded June Barrett.


The murder resulted in several members of Congress asking the FBI to infiltrate pro-life groups, as it had with the Ku Klux Klan . 4

Paul-Jennings Hill was sentenced to death on 6 December 1994 and executed by lethal injection on 3 September 2003. He was the first person in the United States to be executed for murdering a doctor who performed abortions.


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c McCann, Joseph T. (2006): Terrorism on American soil: a concise history of plots and perpetrators from the famous to the forgotten . Sentient Publications. Page 202.
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b Gamboa, Erlantz (2011): Encyclopedia of Crime and Sadism (last page). Pamplona (Spain): Leer-E, 2011. ISBN 978-84-15370-45-1 .
  3. ↑ Jump to:a b Verhovek, Sam (1994): “At center of abortion shooting: an avid protester and an uncertain martyr” , article in English in the newspaper The New York Times , July 31, 1994.
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b Van Biema, David (1994): “Avenging the unborn” , article in English in the magazine Time , 8 of August of 1994.
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b c d Junod, Tom (1994): “The abortionist” , article in English in the magazine GQ of February of 1994.
  6. Back to top↑ Pilkington, Ed (New York, 2007): «Right to choose? British director tackles the debate that divides US ” , article in English in the newspaper The Guardian (London), October 23, 2007.