Michael Griffin speaks with Frontline in Australia
It's an emotion-charged issue that still deeply divides Australia. A woman's right to abortion.
But, in America, it's not so much a debate as all-out war.
There, extremists will stop at nothing. Bombing, arson, kidnapping, even murder, as they target abortion doctors.
With the death toll rising, it's a very brave person willing to carry out terminations, especially late-term abortions.
In fact, it's now so dangerous, there's only a handful of these doctors left. The rest have either given up under the relentless pressure or been killed off.
On Sunday night, we venture to the front line of this bitter and protracted battle. And you should know, some of the images in this story are confronting.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: G'day mate!
TARA BROWN: Don't be fooled by his demeanour.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: G'day inmate!
TARA BROWN: Michael Griffin is a murderer. For the past 17 years, he has been in this gaol for shooting an abortion doctor in the back. Are you anything more than a domestic terrorist?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: I'm not a domestic terrorist. The only people who should be in fear and terror are the abortion doctors. Like I said, they've got to have a reckoning one day with God.
LIZ HAYES: Well in your view, they should have a reckoning here on this Earth now, shouldn't they? They should be stopped, and you were prepared to stop them?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: Anyone who tears a child apart should be stopped.
TARA BROWN: In the United States, there is no issue more divisive than abortion, and there is no middle ground in this battle. On one side, those who fight to protect the unborn, at any cost.
TARA BROWN: Back in 1993, Michael Griffin was an anti-abortion protester against Florida doctor, David Gunn. But then, frustrated that peaceful protests weren't working, he tried a more violent tactic - with deadly consequences. Even today, he believes that by murdering Gunn he stopped the dozen abortions the doctor was due to perform, and so saved lives.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: God clearly condemns the killing of a child. That's murder. Abortion is murder.
TARA BROWN: So how would you describe what you did, if not murder?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: Saving 12 children.
TARA BROWN: What Michael Griffin did was as cold-blooded and un-Christian as you can get. It was a normal Friday morning for Dr David Gunn. He arrived here for work and as usual, found protesters waiting for him. As Dr Gunn got out of his car, Griffin walked through the crowd and from just metres away, shot Dr Gunn three times in the back. It was the first murder in this anti-abortion war. What gives you the right to judge the choice of so many women, what gives you the right to murder another human being?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: First of all, abortion isn't a choice, abortion is murder.
TARA BROWN: Abortion is a choice, that's what it...
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: No, it is not.
TARA BROWN: It is deemed a choice, whether you like it or not. So what gives you the right to say it's not a choice and to act? What gives you the right to kill another man?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: Ah, the value of the life of those children.
TARA BROWN: But why you, above everyone else? Why do you have...
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: I'm not above anybody.
TARA BROWN: Well, why do you have that right?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: Um, well, actually we're all commanded to protect the innocent children. I just accepted that responsibility, I guess.
TARA BROWN: Dr Carhart now has a much bigger target on his back. He has defiantly taken on the abortion work of his friend and colleague Dr George Tiller, who last year was gunned down and killed by an extreme anti-abortionist.
DR LEROY CARHART: The three people that witnessed it said he never saw the man and never knew anything was going to happen.
TARA BROWN: Do you one day expect to be shot?
DR LEROY CARHART: I certainly expect people to try. I'm hoping that they're not successful.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: He should stop what he's doing and get saved and repent of it.
TARA BROWN: Well, he says he's not going to stop.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: He'll stop one day, take my word for it.
TARA BROWN: That sounds like a threat.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: No, it's a promise.
TARA BROWN: In the case of Michael Griffin, the good news is, he is unlikely to ever get out of gaol. The bad news is, that doesn't stop him preaching his violent message.
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: You know, their blood being shed in their clinics and stuff is just a retribution from God for their their acts. And that blood has to be paid for and that is the way it's being paid for.
TARA BROWN: It sounds like you would celebrate anyone if they decided to kill Dr Carhart?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: I'm not asking for that, if that's what you're asking.
TARA BROWN: And how much regret would you have if somebody did?
MICHAEL GRIFFIN: Zero.