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Buffalo Abortion Clinic Reopens

Doctors from across the country have offered to fill the void left at Buffalo's only abortion clinic following the sniper attack that killed one of its physicians.

GYN Womenservices was scheduled to resume performing abortions Wednesday, five days after Dr. Barnett Slepian, 52, was slain by a bullet fired into his home in suburban Amherst.

Meanwhile, police have recovered and are analyzing a key piece of evidence - the bullet that killed Slepian, reports Correspondent Craig Nigrelli of CBS affiliate WIVB in Rochester

Officials say the bullet may link Slepian's murder definitely with four other attacks on area doctors that have taken place over the last four years. None of the other victims died.

In Rochester Tuesday night, members of the National Organization for Women held a candlelight vigil in memory of the slain doctor.

Doctors nationwide have volunteered to come to Buffalo, said Melinda DuBois, the clinic's executive director. One doctor is being flown in this week.

Still, the region is suffering from a shortage of abortion providers. Slepian's slaying left only three acknowledged abortion doctors in the region, and one has already quit in the wake of Slepian's death.

"They killed one and drove another one out," said Elizabeth Sholes, an abortion clinic volunteer who used to escort Slepian to the clinic amid daily protests.

Slepian's shooting was the fifth sniper attack of an abortion doctor in Canada and upstate New York since 1994, but the first to prove fatal. No arrests have been made in Friday's attack.

Abortion doctors who arrive in Buffalo will benefit from increased surveillance and protection from authorities, said John P. McCaffrey, U.S. Marshal for the Western District in New York.

"These doctors were concerned for their safety, and we'll be making sure they arrive safely, depart safely, and nothing happens to them while they are here," he said.

Usually, about 10 protesters picket GYN each day, officials said. Half that number were on hand Tuesday.

The National Abortion Federation, a Washington-based association of abortion providers, sent a trio of members to GYN to assess security needs.

NAF Deputy Director Susan Dudley said most clinics will boost already tight security measures. She wouldn't provide details about what would be done at GYN.

"I think that people who aren't involved in abortion services don't realize the high-level security that is the baseline," Dudley said. "We're not talking about locking doors. Their baseline is way above that of a normal person's."

Buffalo police said they will not be stationed at GYN.

"If they want security, they need to hire somebody," said Buffalo Police spokesman Duane Rizzo. "They are a private business, but our officers are on alert."

Meanwhile, the slaying has become an issue in the close Senate race between incumbent RepublicaAlfonse D'Amato and Democrat Charles Schumer.

On Tuesday, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League unveiled an ad that attacked D'Amato for voting against a law that provides federal protection to abortion clinics. The law was written by Schumer.

The ad, which features a nurse maimed in a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic bombing in January, was completed hours before Slepian was killed.

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