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Alabama Priest Famous For Attacking Abortion Clinic With A Sledgehammer Dies At 79

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter

A Catholic priest who served time in prison for attacking an abortion clinic with a sledgehammer died in an abbey Monday at 79-years-old.

Rev. Edward Markley spent the last of his days serving at St. Bernard Abbey, where he took his vows as a Benedictine monk June 12, 1960. He gained renown in the 1980s when he was convicted of vandalizing equipment at a Huntsville abortion clinic with red paint and of smashing equipment at a Birmingham abortion clinic with a sledgehammer. (RELATED: Nebraska Lawmaker Introduces Bill Mandating Clinics Tell Women About Abortion Reversal Pill)

A judge ordered Markley to pay restitution to two employees of the abortion clinic he attacked with paint, as they required medical treatment. Markley refused to pay and served 30 days in jail until an anonymous donor paid the restitution on his behalf. For attacking an abortion clinic with a sledgehammer, Markley was convicted on felony charges and sentenced to 10 years probation. He was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison for violating probation terms that mandated he stay at least 500 feet away from abortion clinics.

Markley’s then superior, the late Bishop Joseph Vath, openly supported Markley’s actions in 1985 at the time of his violation of probation.

“If we are convinced that abortion is the taking of innocent life according to God’s revealed word, he is not acting unjustly according to God’s law in defending the innocent unborn ones,” Vath said, according to AL.com. “The right to life certainly supersedes the right to property or to privacy.”

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